New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof found himself in Boston when a pair of explosions turned the Boston Marathon into a scene of panic, death and destruction. He got partisan pretty quickly:
explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.
The tweet included a link to a Washington Post story on gridlock over the Obama administration’s attempts to seek Senate confirmation for acting Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones.
Onlookers didn’t appreciate Kristof’s attempt to politicize a calamity that was just a few minutes old — a backlash that he acknowledged in an apologetic tweet:
People jumping on me for criticizing Sen Repubs for blocking ATF appointments. ok, that was low blow. i take it back
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) April 15, 2013
In a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog, Kristof said he does indeed “think that it’s absolutely wrong to delay, to leave the ATF without a director, but I shouldn’t have sent out that tweet,” he says. “That’s what comes of wandering around the finish line and firing off tweets and tweeting things without thinking. It was a connection that I should not have made in 140 characters.” Kristof is on book leave and so probably won’t be visiting the topic in a column anytime soon. “I just think I do some good tweets and I think I do some bad tweets and that wasn’t one of my classier ones.”