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WaPo Sports Writer Mike Wise Suspended for Tweet

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 01, 2010 1:05 PM

Popular Washington Post sports writer Mike Wise has been suspended for a Ben Roethlisberger tweet gone awry. The tweet was supposed to be an experiment in how quickly a phony story would be picked up. Now Wise will have an experiment in a one-month suspension from the newspaper.

The Washington Post quotes its newly suspended employee, "As part of a bit on my show today, I tried to test the accuracy of social media reporting. Probably not the best way to go about the experiment. But in the end, it proved two things: 1. I was right about nobody checking facts or sourcing and 2. I'm an idiot. Apologies to all involved. My bosses at the Post feel I need a month to think about the severity of my actions." Wise also tweeted an apology.

The controversial tweet was over the number of games Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for, and the knowingly false tweet from such a recognizable sports reporter was unappreciated on all levels of the playing field. Wise tweeted that Roethlisberger would be suspended for five, instead of six games, and his experiment worked as many major media outlets picked up the fake information and republished it.

An employee suspension is essentially an internal discipline mechanism a company uses as a warning for an employee's inappropriate actions. Typically unpaid, an employee suspension is a welcome alternative to being fired for a position, and also a way to put other potential offenders on alert. In the case of Mike Wise, his rather public suspension is a lesson in just how seriously people take a 140 character tweet.

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