Glenn Reynolds’ USA Today Column Suspended for a Month After Tweet Urging Motorists to Run Over Protesters
After saying earlier today that he was not sorry for his tweet saying motorists should run over protesters, blogger/law professor Glenn Reynolds is now apologizing for it, sort of. It’s one of those “I’m sorry you misunderstood me” non-apology apologies.
And the reason for this is because he apparently nearly lost his USA Today column. It’s been suspended for a month. Here’s his statement at USA Today:
Wednesday night one of my 580,000 tweets blew up. I didn’t live up to my own standards, and I didn’t meet USA TODAY’s standards. For that I apologize, to USA TODAY readers and to my followers on social media.
I was following the riots in Charlotte, against a background of reports of violence. Joe Bruno of WSOC9 interviewed a driver whose truck had been stopped by a mob. Trapped in her cab, she “feared for her life” as her cargo was looted. Then I retweeted a report of mobs “stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles” with the comment, “Run them down.”
Those words can easily be taken to advocate drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I’m sorry it seemed I did.
Here’s an idea. If you don’t want people to think you mean “run them down,” maybe you shouldn’t write those words and put them on Twitter. Of course, that’s exactly what he did, and what he meant. He was angry and lashed out at the protesters, advocating violence against them, and no attempt to spin it away can erase this fact.
What I meant is that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles.
If that’s what he meant, he could have written those words, instead of “run them down.” “Drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles” fits easily into Twitter’s 140-character limit.
I remember Reginald Denny, a truck driver who was beaten nearly to death by a mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
The protests in Charlotte did include some violence, that’s undoubtedly true. But no motorists were pulled from their cars and “beaten nearly to death,” despite Glenn’s memories of Reginald Denny.
My tweet should have said, “Keep driving,” or “Don’t stop.”
Yes, it “should have” said that, because then his column wouldn’t have been suspended, and the university he works for wouldn’t be investigating him. It’s pretty obvious these factors are the only reason he’s “sorry” at all.