CNN's "Reliable Sources" provided the platform for a deeply-felt debate between me and Tomi Lahren, of TheBlaze. At least, it was deeply felt on my part. I cannot speak for her.
The focus of our segment, which included host Brian Stelter and Jamia Wilson, executive director Women, Action & The Media, was incendiary tweets during the tumultuous events of the past week and cable channels providing platforms for those responsible for the tweets to amplify their remarks.
The conversation moved to Lahren and a tweet she posted and then deleted calling Black Lives Matter "the new KKK."
Here's the full tweet: “Meet the new KKK, they call themselves ‘Black Lives Matter’ but make no mistake their goals are far from equality. #Dallas #bluelivesmatter."
"That’s really reckless," I said. "As a journalist, what you did appalls me.”
"I’m not a journalist, I’m a commentator and I’m allowed to have my feelings and my opinions," Lahren replied.
"There’s no room for the kind of ignorance that your tweet put out there at this time in our history," I added.
It astounds me that people working in the media tweet without thinking. I argue that it is not just a matter of new technology that makes it possible, but rather some media workers not being socialized to the values of journalism and social responsibility. I believe it is a huge problem.
You can delete a tweet, but you can't take back the poison you have put out there with its initial publication in the media ecosystem.
It's as a much a kind of pollution as dumping toxic chemicals in a river. You pollute and poison the conversation of democracy.
Check out the video of our discussion (above) and let me know what you think.
And thanks again to CNN and Stelter for providing this platform in this difficult week when we need all the reflection and conversation we can muster about where we are headed.