September 2, 2016

The Washington Post this week reminded employees their online behavior is an extension of their professional lives after a tweet from reporter Dave Weigel drew pushback from readers on social media.

The tweet, which also drew some amens, was launched Tuesday in response to the drubbing of Florida congressional candidate Dan Bongino, calling the defeated ex-Secret Service agent a “lying, pathetic loser.”

Weigel has written about Bongino before. Last week, The Post published a piece about the candidate’s history of trashing reporters called “what a lying, cursing Florida candidate for Congress tells us about politicians and the press.” Among other things, Bongino went on a profanity-laced tirade while on the phone with Politico reporter Marc Caputo:

In response to a question about the tweet, Washington Post Managing Editor Cameron Barr told Poynter it was “inappropriate and unacceptable.”

“We have discussed this misstep with Dave and reminded him and others on the staff of the need to refrain from partisan, inappropriate or ad hominem statements on social media,” Barr said.

On Wednesday, Washington Post Deputy Managing Editor Tracy Grant sent a memo to newsroom employees cautioning that “even in your private life, you are acting as a representative of The Washington Post.”

Now seems as good a time as ever to remind everyone about our Standards & Ethics policies on political activism and behavior on social media, so I’ve pasted the most relevant passages below. The bottom line is that you must remember that even in your private life, you are acting as a representative of The Washington Post.

Weigel, a well-regarded national political reporter for The Washington Post, resigned from the newspaper in 2010 after disparaging conservative commentator Matt Drudge on the left-leaning listserv Journolist. He was hired at Slate and then at Bloomberg Politics before returning to The Washington Post in 2015.

The New York Times also recently reminded employees to be careful on social media in response to tweets in the wake of the shooting in Orlando.

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