Controversy over the responsibility Twitter has in policing its users has been at the forefront of our national discourse. There is also a role for individuals to play in propagating fair and accurate stories on this platform. On Twitter, information seems to spread at lightning speed and “news” stories have a way of taking on a life of their own. Twitter undoubtably has some virtue — I myself am a frequent user. It is a forum where otherwise disparate people can communicate quickly and information can be democratized. However, Twitter all too frequently can be used to deceive and mislead.
On Twitter, I am often the target of misleading news stories based on out of context or truncated quotes as well as outright lies. My recent commentary on Michael Flynn’s lying to the FBI is a perfect example of just that. On December 17, I was interviewed by Bill Hemmer and was asked about the repercussions of Flynn lying to the FBI. I first responded by stating:
“I hope the judge understands when he has the case tomorrow; Flynn did not commit a crime by lying because the lie has to be material to the investigation, and if the FBI already knew the answer to the question and only asked the question to give him an opportunity to lie, his answer, even if false, was not material to the investigation.”