Newspaper reporter resigns after wrongly claiming Annapolis shooter wore MAGA hat
A newspaper reporter in Massachusetts resigned on Friday after falsely claiming in a tweet that the gunman who opened fire on a newsroom in Maryland a day earlier was wearing a hat bearing President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Conor Berry, a reporter at The Republican in Springfield, Mass., said on Twitter that his journalism career “came to a screeching halt” after the tweet on Thursday, and offered an apology to fellow reporters and Trump supporters.
“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,” he wrote. “Can’t take it back; wish I could. My sincere apologies to all good, hardworking reporters and to POTUS supporters.”
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. Can’t take it back; wish I could. My sincere apologies to all good, hardworking reporters and to POTUS supporters.
— CONOR BERRY (@CBerry413) June 29, 2018
In an excerpt from his resignation notice published on Friday by The Republican, Conor said that he was “ashamed” of his tweet, adding that it “taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere.”
Conor’s initial Twitter post was quickly taken down after an editor at the newspaper became aware of it, The Republican reported.
Conor’s initial tweet came after a gunman opened fire in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday, killing at least five people and leaving several others injured.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, who has since been identified as Jarrod Ramos, 38. Ramos previously sued the Capital Gazette for defamation in 2012, but the lawsuit was dismissed.
The Republican’s executive editor Wayne Phaneuf said the current climate makes it more important than ever for journalists to report the news fairly and accurately.
“We need to be more vigilant than ever to be fair and accurate in a climate in which we are scrutinized and criticized,” he said, according to The Republican. “The Republican newspaper and our partners at MassLive.com are committed to report the news with the truth paramount.”