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"Worst Week in Washington" Winner: Twitter!

The choice has been made!

Here's an excerpt from our "Worst Week in Washington" column that will appear in the dead tree edition of the Post on Sunday::

The Fix is a confirmed FOT (Friend of Twitter). We've been using the microblogging service since the summer of 2009 -- check us out here -- and have enjoyed every minute of it.

(Make sure to follow deputy Fixes -- FixFelicia and FixAaron -- too!)

But we've always thought that Twitter was a dangerous game for politicians. (We even wrote an essay warning pols to tone down the tweeting.) Now, it turns out that Twitter holds real peril for political reporters, too. Two examples from the week that was highlight the dangers.

First, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart used a tweet from Rep. Jack Kimble of California as a launching pad for a blog post on who is to blame for the current federal deficits. The problem? There is no Rep. Jack Kimble; that Twitter account is a spoof.

Then, several reporters jumped the gun -- via Twitter -- on a release touting the endorsement by Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's Senate candidacy. The release in question was actually sent out by the campaign of Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democrat in the race, to draw attention to Graham's endorsement of Crist way back in 2009 -- when the governor, now an independent, was still running for Senate as a Republican. Graham had since rescinded the endorsement and is now backing former state House speaker Marco Rubio (R).

To their credit -- and Twitter's credit -- Capehart and the Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel, who tweeted on the Graham endorsement, corrected their errors quickly. Capehart wrote (via Twitter, of course) that he had been "bamboozled," adding: "Lesson here: Never let a good opening get in the way of that final fact-check."

The Fix adopts a "there but for the grace of God go I" approach to mistakes via 140 characters or less -- as should any self-aware journalist. But the slip-ups highlight the double-edged sword that is Twitter. On the one hand, you can instantly share your news and views with the world. On the other hand, you can instantly share your news and views with the world.

You can read the full piece here.

By Chris Cillizza  | September 10, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Worst Week in Washington  
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Next: Afternoon Fix: Obama doubles down on economic agenda; Shumlin wins Dem nod for Vermont governor

 
 
 
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