At the outset of his daily radio show on 106.7 the Fan in D.C., Mike Wise announced that the Washington Post has imposed a one-month suspension on him for his ill-advised Monday Twitter hoax regarding, ironically, the suspension of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Wise read a statement in which he acknowledged that he “made a horrendous mistake,” and that it “cost me a chunk of [my] own credibility.”
Actually, it cost Wise all of his credibility, as far as we’re concerned. Even though he surely will never pull another stunt like this, it’s fair to wonder whether other motivations, apart from providing true, accurate information, will undermine any of his future journalistic endeavors.
Wise also offered up a very half-hearted (hoof-hearted) explanation, mentioning once again the facially implausible notion that he tried to immediately point out that it was a joke, even after boasting on Tuesday that the goal was to dupe people like me into believing it wasn’t a joke.
Though we’re not privy to the thought processes of the Post, we suspect that the length of the suspension was influenced at least in part by Wise’s clumsy attempt to minimize the damage by offering up inconsistent excuses like: (1) I never break news on my Twitter account so no one should have believed it; (2) I tried to get people like Florio to believe it; (3) I tried to immediately make it clear that it was a joke but Twitter jammed up, even though it allowed me to make four subsequent posts over more than an hour, including one in which I perpetuated the hoax by saying he “[c]an’t reveal my sources.”
Frankly, Wise should be glad he wasn’t fired. Armed with the relevant Post personnel policies, including the one regarding the use of social media, a semi-competent lawyer (or me) would have Wise admitting within five minutes or less that his employment should be terminated for cause.
The fact that he seems to be so willing to accept the suspension represents an implicit acknowledgment that Wise realizes, despite his cannonball into the stupid pool, he dodged a mortar shell when it was time to visit the principal’s office.