#133 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: Tweety Petricic

Sasa Petricic hangs out in Jerusalem. He got arrested in Turkey during the Gezi Park protests of 2013. No particularly glaring controversy, solid jawline – the perfect newsman. I actually wasn’t about to write about this dude but he scored himself a complaint to the ombudsman that has some implications for the “oh-Jesus-race-to-the-Internet-Tweet-Everything” movement that is the CBC’s long-term survival plan.

Twitter and newscasting seem like natural bedfellows – the former is about slamming words together and hoping someone hears you, and newscasting is basically a stage for you to slam words together in front of a bitching backdrop. Hands-in-gloves, right? Flash the @handle at the bottom of your name, get some followers, throw news directly into the e-faceholes in real time. What’s not to love?

Well, ask Dr. Robert Wittes and he’ll have an answer for you. Apparently Sasa is big into the Twittering – in my research into the guy I found mention that he tweeted himself to freedom in Turkey, which is apparently noteworthy and in no way influenced by him being a journalist and a foreigner. Dr. Wittes took offense to this:

“Fighting for/ag #ISIS isn’t only combat drawing youth to MidEast. Many more foreign recruits to #Israel, inc Cdn”

And rightly so! What the fuck is this? Are you telling me that one Canadian is moving to Israel? Are you suggesting that Israel is actively engaged in combat against ISIS? I hope not because that isn’t true in the slightest. Newscasting made unclear, ladies and gentlemen! This is the guy who won Canada’s Canadian Screen Award for Best Reportage last year? Just because I’m an asshole let’s put that up against some Newspeak:

#Oldthinkers unbellyfeel @Ingsoc: rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling [link to some article]

Not quite. Ah, damn. But you see the problem with unreadable acronyms and – oh, that isn’t the problem? Apologies, Dr. Wittes. The problem here is the pretty obvious implication of Sasa’s tweet – that ISIS and the IDF are comparable. This is something that Sasa could have avoided by using a platform with the ability to communicate in more than 140 characters with slightly more care than one usually exercises pinching off a morning turd, but I digress. Dr. Wittes continues to bring the pain to Sasa-chan:

“If he meant it to be offensive, then he should be disciplined for anti-Semitism. If his offence was inadvertent, then he should be disciplined for incompetence.”

Ooooh. Shots fired! Here I need to depart from Dr. Wittes. The handwringing reply that Sasa is awesome and of course we at the CBC would never say that ISIS and the IDF are the same but his tweet was really clunky and awkwardly written but senpai don’t hate us is only interesting for the part about clunkiness. You mean that it can be hard to capture full shades of meaning when compressing thought into 140 characters of acronyms and confusion and that the opportunity for uh-oh is there? Well, the ombudsman thinks so:

One must indeed proceed with extreme caution when including ISIS and the IDF in the same 140-character sentence to draw attention to a newspaper article.

Hmm. Perhaps – and this is just me grasping at straws here – perhaps flinging the CBC towards digitization isn’t a great idea when your award-winning journalists can’t express themselves properly in the confines of one of the most commonly-used social media sites in the Western world? Is this one of those cases where planning for the transition and training people would have been wise? Who knew? Rushing to the Internet because it cuts costs and works effectively to bring information to people is fine – so long as the people in your employ know how to use them without sounding like idiots. This being the CBC…yeah, not quite there yet. #whoopsies!

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