February 11, 2013

After receiving a tip from a colleague, I just descended on the Twitter page of Major Garrett, CBS News’s chief White House correspondent.

My eyes fell first on some tweets in mid-screen — one about how we shouldn’t expect another liberal narrative” in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, another about Chuck Hagel, yet another about some dinner or something.

Then I hit the top item. Not about Hagel or a dinner or anything else that can be conveyed in compliance with the decency rules of a long-standing news organization. Then it disappeared from my screen. Not there anymore.

An iron rule of social media says, “All profanities from the Twitter accounts of famous media types shall be screen-grabbed by gawking onlookers and commented upon extensively.” One such screengrab reveals that Garrett said the following:

“The [f-word] I am. That is shirty business what you did. Fix it. I’m not [f-word, present participle] kidding.”

Yes, Garrett’s account did cite “shirty” business. That could have been a typo for an intended profanity. Or: Garrett could be hopping mad at his dry cleaners for failing to remove a stain from one of his shirts. And he wants it fixed. Or: Garrett was using this British/Australian term in its proper context. Whatever the case, the sudden and powerful use of swear words in the tweet appears to contrast with the guy’s standard Twitter behavior, evidence that perhaps Garrett had intended those words to be conveyed in a direct message to another Twitter user, one to which the entire world doesn’t have access. Yet another possibility is that someone hacked into the account and wrote something unintelligible and profane just for kicks.

The Erik Wemple Blog has reached out to CBS News for perspective on all of this. We expect absolutely no response.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.