With a news cylce measured in seconds and minutes, not even hours, there are plenty of mainstream media mistakes, as I wrote yesterday, One lesson for mass killings: Don’t trust media reports for at least 24 hours.

Piers Morgan, for example, ran wild over the fact that the shooter used an AR-15, except it turned out the shooter didn’t.

So Morgan deleted some of his inaccurate and embarrassing tweets about the use of an AR-15 in the Navy Yard shooting.  In so doing, Morgan both deleted inaccurate information and his own political embarrassment.

That makes it harder for people (like me) to address Morgan’s politics on gun control — evidence has been removed from the internet. Well, fortunately, Twitchy grabbed the screen shots before Morgan’s deletion:

Twitchy Morgan AR-15 deleted tweets

But in many cases, someone’s Twitter or blog history is important in itself.

With a blog entry, one can update and correct, as Buzzfeed did yesterday, and Google Cache often (but not always) saves the original.  But with Twitter, there is no ability to change the tweet itself, only to issue a new tweet correcting the prior (Morgan has not done that, btw), and it is much harder to reconstruct deleted tweets.

The same issue exists as to the NY Daily News’ now infamous Cover which was sent out on Twitter, and resulted in this conversation:

I think it’s a close call. I understand Brit Hume’s point, and would agree if the issue were identification of the wrong person, for example. That “victim” deserves to have his or her name expunged from the news cycle.

In the case of the NY Daily News and Piers Morgan, however, deleting the history of their political embarrassment only diminishes the political conversation … for the next time something like this happens and people rush to judgment.

In the meantime, as we ponder this problem, I’m going back to my old habit of grabbing screenshots of Tweets, not relying on the Twitter link alone, because that link could disappear.


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