In today’s edition of “He Can’t Possibly Be Serious,” we present Ryan J. Reilly, Justice Reporter for the Huffington Post, in a random act of serious journalism (h/t Instapundit):

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Stop it.

Those, of course, are not rubber bullets. Those are (assault!) earplugs, which have both the consistency and lethality of a marshmallow.

To be fair to Reilly, he’s done some decent reporting both for HuffPo and on Twitter on the race riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Reilly, along with several other reporters, was arrested after police officers made the call to close an area McDonald’s due to the rampant street violence.


When he didn’t leave quickly enough, Reilly said, he was roughed up by an officer and subsequently arrested.

“You know you always see cops yelling, ‘stop resisting, stop resisting,’ and that’s something that happened here — but I wasn’t resisting,” Reilly said. “This is just something that these cops yelled no matter what you were doing. I let my arms go limp … wasn’t trying to resist anything.”

Fortunately for Reilly, the internet quickly alerted him to the fact that there’s no such thing as an assault earplug, and he responded in kind:

Whether he meant to or not, Reilly showed with his ill-informed tweet just how easy it is for a member of the mainstream media to make a critical error while reporting in the moment.

This was, of course, a stupid mistake, but what if it hadn’t been? What if he had mistweeted about the actions of a police officer, or about what weapons were or were not being used in the streets?

Which brings us to one of our favorite Branco cartoons:


Using Twitter to live tweet seriously dangerous situations—like what’s happening to the people in Ferguson right now—is both useful and risky. We follow journalists on Twitter knowing to trust but verify, but in the heat of the moment, an error like the one Reilly made could have serious consequences.

We would all do well to remember that.