On Election Day just before noon, Reuters ethics editor Alix Freeman warned the staff in an e-mail that “On election night we want to take the opportunity again to urge you to exercise caution on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. We welcome your participation. But a premature tweet, for example, announcing a candidate’s victory before a race is clearly decided, or a tweet or retweet indicating any preference for a candidate may raise questions about our campaign coverage and our dedication to accuracy, fairness and freedom from bias."
She also quoted from the Reuters handbook: "As the handbook says, “Reuters journalists should be mindful of the impact their publicly expressed opinions can have on their work and on Reuters. … Before you tweet or post, consider how what you’re doing will reflect on your professionalism and our collective reputation.”
Reuters entertainment writer Piya Sinha-Roy – from the looks of her Twitter page a recent arrival from England, but also a first-time voter – missed the memo completely, tweeting her Obama fandom not once but twice:
One: Inspiring speech from President Obama. Quite a first US election experience for me! #Obama2012
Two: 4 more years! RT @BarackObama: We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you. -bo
Sinha-Roy also retweeted a series of news articles proclaiming an Obama victory.
And she also included some mockery of the "Obama haters" who hyperventilated on Twitter about America making the wrong decision:
Via @RubiaSRoy, @Vice narrow down the type of people who hate @BarackObama (each example is beyond hilarious)
The tweet linked to a Vice U.K. magazine post -- a "Twitter-based psychoanalysis" piece entitled "What Sort of Person Hates Barack Obama?" Donald Trump and Ted Nugent were included among the satirical targets. The article joked that Nugent's tweets showed he likes "Slaughtering pigs from helicopters with machine guns" and Trump's Twitter feed showed he likes “The idea of marching to the White House and staging a coup of the legitimately elected government” and “The concept of global warming having been invented by the Chinese as part of a conspiracy to get Obama re-elected.”
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and co-author (with Brent Bozell) of "Collusion: How the Media Stole the 2012 Election and How to Stop Them From Doing It In 2016."