There is quite a buzz online and in the media as a result of a poorly-constructed Twitter post from long-time blogger Glenn Reynolds:
Some readers have inferred from this that Glenn is advocating intentionally running down protesters, and have likened the tweet to recent acts of terrorism, such as the Nice truck incident. These inferences are just flat wrong.
Glenn has been my best friend for 46 years, and while I may disagree with him on much of his current politics, I probably know him better than almost anyone else. He did NOT mean to advocate, urge, exhort, or otherwise encourage anyone to deliberately run down pedestrians. Glenn is and always has been a passionate believer in civil and individual rights, including the right to self-defense. His tweet — ham-handed as it may have been — was intended to convey that a motorist surrounded by potentially violent protesters has a self-defense right to do whatever is necessary to get to a place of safety. If that means possibly striking a pedestrian who means the motorist harm and gets in the vehicle’s way, then such an action is justified in self-defense. Such a position is eminently reasonable, and is in line with most — if not all — reasonable people.
Unfortunately, the nature of Twitter shorthand caused that message to be badly misinterpreted. The problem with tweets, Facebook posts, emails and text messages is that it is very easy to say the right thing in the wrong way. In retrospect, Glenn should not have tweeted the three words he posted, and should have been more careful to tweet what he meant. Despite that poorly worded tweet, he should not be eviscerated in the media and on the Web for something he did not mean.
Readers may not care for Glenn’s politics. That’s fine; I get that. But political disagreement should not and must not color the reader’s view of the offending tweet, and what it was meant to convey. Glenn is one of the best people I have ever known. I guarantee that he was not advocating violence against protesters because he may have disagreed with them politically.