You might have noticed I’m not a huge fan of Tiny Tim Griffin, the Karl Rove-trained political hatchet man who now represents the 2nd District in Congress (if by represent you mean cater to the extremist fringe voter, to the exclusion of majority wishes of the district’s largest county).
So you might think I’d be licking my chops over some Griffin Twittering in the midst of confusion about a shooting on Capitol Hill. His timing on castigating the supposed violent rhetoric of President Obama and other Democrats was impeccably awful under the circumstances — an active shooter and the Capitol in lockdown. But many are reading him as somehow blaming the Capitol Hill shooting on Democrats before the gunsmoke had cleared on the incident.
I don’t think that’s what he was doing. Maybe I give him too much credit.
But Gawker’s illustration of it above is typical.
An itchy Twitter finger can get you in trouble.
Buzzfeed, which had also jumped on Griffin quickly, has an UPDATE, from which I now think Griffin DID mean to link the shooting to Democrats:
Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin, a Republican, said he had “tweeted out of emotion” on Thursday after appearing to blame Democrats for a shooting on Capitol Hill.
“The victims and their families are in my thoughts and prayers,” Griffin said in a text message to BuzzFeed. “The shooting today is a terrible and inexcusable tragedy and an act of terrorism. No one but the shooter is to blame.”
“We are still processing information about this shooting, but as I have been saying for days, we all need to choose our words wisely because violent rhetoric only coarsens our culture, creates an atmosphere of incivility and is not helpful. I tweeted out of emotion but agree that the timing was not helpful,” Griffin said.
Is emotion Tweeting like drunk Tweeting — saying what you really mean, but wishing later you hadn’t? Sort of a dry drunk (sober, but judgmentally impaired) tweet? Note he never apologized, only regretted “timing.”
UPDATE II: Here’s Roll Call, on Griffin “firing partisan insults into the online ether.” This link has a healthy portion of abuse of Griffin from readers. For example:
@TimGriffinAR2 THAT’s your reaction, seriously? Way to inject personal politics into the situation, asshole.
UPDATE III: And now the world. AP is on Tiny Tim, too. Almost 4,000 hits on our Facebook post in 46 minutes. Also: Griffin has deleted his tweet, but not to worry. There’s a website that compiles politicians’ deleted tweets and saves them for posterity.
And be sure to check Slate. Great file photo of Griffin slapping his head with the caption: “D’oh!” Said Slate:
He could have written it off as a poorly-timed, pre-scheduled tweet, but instead went on to defend his comments to one user who confronted him: