The Slatest

Journalists Need to Stop Sending Tweets About How They Are About to Send an Important Tweet

The only appropriate time to announce that you are about to make an announcement is when you are selecting a new Pope.

Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday night the Daily Beast’s Justin Miller sent a tweet that we need to talk about.

It happens that I know Justin Miller from the meetings that the media has every month to determine who wins elections/from working with him at New York magazine. Justin Miller is a good man, a Michigan man. But Justin Miller, and many of the other writers covering this election, need to hear this message:

You need to stop sending tweets whose only purpose is to claim that you are going to POST HUGE MEGA-NEWS on Twitter at some point in the future.

The story that Miller eventually sent out was a report about how Trump had spoken in inappropriate, lewd terms about a female Apprentice contestant on the set of the show. It was a good story that broke timely news. But after Miller’s hype, it seemed like a disappointment. A bombshell? Not really. Disgusting? Only a little!

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald is another self-defeating self-hype offender.

Eichenwald’s piece turned out to be a comprehensive but by no means earth-shaking review of international Trump Organization deals that could present foreign-policy conflicts of interests in a Trump administration. Worth writing about. Didn’t change the election. Seemed disappointing.

The king of the hype game, though, is indisputably the Washington Post’s Robert Costa. Costa has extensive contacts in the world of conservative and Republican politics; he’s an invaluable resource for anyone trying to understand how Washington, D.C., works. And yet. He is always at it with this sort of stuff, from the night of the second debate:

Wow, it’s about to go down!!!


It turned out Costa had written a piece about a stunt involving Bill Clinton accusers that Trump wasn’t able to pull off. Fun story. Not something worth staying up all night for!

Bob, as I call him (we’ve never corresponded or met), is also extremely guilty of overusing the words scoop and news.

Someone who’s involved in debate prep is “being discussed” for a “possible” role in … debate prep? Ye Gods! Tell Bradlee to stop the presses!

This was from the night that the Times broke the mega-story (which they did, somehow, without tweeting “big story coming … watch this space” first) about the women accusing Trump of sexual assault:

Did he consider it? Was there drafting? I guess. Was any litigation ever filed? No.

Here’s a fun fact: Slate once beat another publication to press with its coverage of a particular news subject because the other publication’s writer announced via Twitter that, at some point in the near future, he was going to publish a piece about that news subject. Loose Twitter lips sink ships, journalists! Also, they make the story you eventually publish seem like a letdown. Don’t tell me what you’re going to do—show me what you’ve done!