Anthony Shadid’s death prompted a White House statement and some needless argument on Twitter. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Steven Senne/AP)

“All of us, from the President on down, are greatly saddened by the news that Anthony Shadid had died while reporting in Syria,” Carney said. “Anthony Shadid was one of the best, perhaps the finest, foreign correspondent working today, in my opinion — for what it’s worth. And it’s a tragic loss to journalism, to The New York Times, most importantly to his family. And our thoughts and prayers, the President’s thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.”

All true. But proper? That’s where Reuters media critic Jack Shafer jumped into the fray on Twitter:

The White House shld shut up. MT @jaketapper White House Heralds Work of NYT’s Shadid “A Tragic Loss to Journalism”

Strong stuff right there — strong enough to bring on a Friday afternoon Twitterama:

When great Americans pass away, the White House often issues a statement lamenting the event and commending their contributions. Celebrities, entrepreneurs, politicians — the tributes cross all kinds of professional boundaries. There’s no good reason to deplore the practice as it applies to fallen journalists. They’re Americans too.