04/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Long Dark Teatime Of Tapper's Twitter


Sakes alive! This long national nightmare is over, as Tapper has told me that all parties are unblocked. If everyone could, say, refrain from, say...gratuitously hurting each other's feelings on social networks, these matters can be avoided in the future. For the time being, you may all, as Robert Gibbs said, "go back to watching basketball."


Oh, good grief. Twitter truly has become the Sum Of All Fails. Here's today's little juvenile spat: basically, ABC's Jake Tapper has blocked The American Prospect's Adam Serwer and Talking Points Memo's David Kurtz for deigning to criticize his tweets. Uhm, exactly what on earth are avatars of transparency doing on Twitter if the content they distribute is subject to some different set of rules? Who knows? Private thoughts can, in fact, still be kept in diaries, to the best of my knowledge, where no one can say mean things about them.

So this whole little kerfuffle appears to have begun when Kurtz and Serwer criticized certain tweets of Tapper's pertaining to Obama's Leno appearance. Serwer was the more substantive, in that he found it ironic that a press corps so unilaterally opposed to the idea that President Obama could tend to more than one matter at a time could themselves successfully report out fluff in the middle of our financial crisis. Kurtz was more obtuse in his posts, apparently objecting to Tapper's imagining what would happen "if President Bush joked that his bowling skills recalled the Special Olympics." (For the record, I think that Bush's most ardent critics would go ballistic!) It's possible that I don't quite understand what Kurtz was driving at, but in my defense, Kurtz doesn't explain it either.

Anyway, the salient point of all of this is that Tapper got the vapors and blocked these two from following him. Which is so junior high homeroom, please! And then he issued a statement, to Greg Sargent:

"I'm trying to use Twitter as a way to communicate with all sorts of people from all over the political spectrum, as a place for feedback, polite argument, and dialogue. I learned that the AP was taking Coach K's quote out of context from a Tweet; it ended up on Good Morning America this morning. I want this way to talk to people. I don't want it to turn into what the comment section of my blog has become. The only people who have been blocked are people who make ad hominem attacks. They're still fully able to read my Tweets -- I just don't care to read theirs."

TPM has since been unblocked. But the American Prospect's Adam Serwer takes umbrage at the whole "ad hominem" accusation, telling Sargent, "Nothing I said was out of line." And he's right!

But the more pressing and alarming point here, is this: not ten days ago I held out Tapper as a terrific example of what someone in the press is doing with Twitter, and recommending him to others! So now, these bush league antics of his have really ended up casting me and my judgment in a distinctly negative light. And I am not having it! So forget what I said. Follow me, instead! Or Salon's Mike Madden. He's really cool! Dave Weigel deserves more followers, too.

Jesus, these people, sometimes.