House members delete tweets echoing Supreme mistweet


The general mayhem following mistaken all-too-instant analyses of Thursday's nearly 200-page Supreme Court package of opinions on the health care law included several members of Congress eating their words – or tweets, rather – according to Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops.

“Individual Mandate ruled unconstitutional. Let Freedom Ring,” posted Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., in an immediate response to news stories that erroneously indicated that the high court had overturned health care law.  Ross deleted the inaccurate tweet, moments later, when it became clear that two networks often watched in congressional offices — CNN and Fox — had blown the call. Gannett News Service has an excellent Storify post with all the details.

Among others whose deleted posts popped up on Politwoops were: Reps. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Dennis Ross, R-Fla., Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Aaron Schock, R-Ill, whose posts are available here.

Gaffes like these highlight the risks that come along with such immediate access to information. Within seconds, misinformation can be spread across the Web, across the country, across the globe. And with Twitter, it has become all too easy to spread these inaccuracies under one’s own name.

While it’s equally easy to delete these posts, during the few seconds the words are exposed to the world an immeasurable number of people have witnessed the mistake. For politicians, this could potentially mean more than light-hearted ridicule from a friend–an ill-considered tweet might well mean losing votes.

But don’t tweet us on that. 

(Clarification: This story has been updated to indicate that more than one network made the error in describing the Supreme Court's ruling)