By Bradford Betz, ,
Published June 30, 2018
A reporter in Springfield, Mass., resigned from his job Friday after posting a Twitter message falsely stating that the Maryland shooting suspect had brought a "Make America Great Again" hat to the office of the Capital Gazette.
Conor Berry, who wrote for the Republican, tweeted an image of a MAGA hat Thursday, and suggested that the suspect had left it behind at the Gazette office after allegedly killing five Gazette employees.
Backlash was swift. Berry deleted the tweet and apologized in a follow-up tweet Friday morning.
“Folks, My 21-year career as a “journalist,” a fancy term that makes my skin crawl, frankly, came to a screeching halt yesterday with one stupid, regrettable tweet,” Barry wrote. “Can’t take it back; wish I could. My sincere apologies to all good, hardworking reporters and to POTUS supporters.”
Berry told the Boston Globe that the tweet was intended to be a “snarky, sarcastic, cynical remark.”
In his resignation letter, Berry conceded that his tweet “taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere.”
Wayne Phaneuf, executive editor of the Republican, said journalists must be “more vigilant than ever” in their efforts to be fair and accurate.
President Donald Trump, who has frequently criticized journalists for reporting “fake news,” on Friday said, “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.”
Berry was not the first journalist to apologize for a tweet suggesting that the president or one of his supporters shared resonsibility for Thurday's massacre.
Reuters reporter Rob Cox tweeted Thursday, "This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people. Blood is your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul."
The tweet was later deleted.
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.