Mike Wise Makes Up Roethlisberger Story, Fools No One

| by Off The Record

You may or may not have heard by now that Mike Wise of the Washington Post sent out a fake tweet today regarding Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension. He tweeted, “Roethlisberger will get five games, I’m told.”

Coming from someone like Wise who works at the Post, it’s safe to say that he’s a credible source who wouldn’t just put that stuff out there if it wasn’t true. Except he did, and it wasn’t.


It was tied into a bit he was doing with his radio show, but he forgot that not everyone was listening to his show. In a podcast available here, he explains what he was doing and why he was doing it.

“Where I screwed up was, I literally put a tweet right after that saying, ‘can’t reveal my sources…oh yeah, it’s a casino employee in Lake Tahoe’ and so I get this ‘Twitter is over-booked, try back later,’” Wise explains. “So the actual secondary tweet doesn’t go come out until…a half hour to an hour later and I was on the radio show at the time and I didn’t even look up for 20 minutes to see that it hadn’t tweeted.”

Not sure we are buying that one, but ok.

He was then talking about how people should have to go do a bunch more research based on a tweet that he puts out.

“Bottom line: I picked a lousy way to show we have no credibility in this medium, in the social networking medium, and that nobody checks these things out,” he said. “It was just not a good way to do it. If i had to do it all over again I would have picked another way.”

Obviously, a lot of content aggregation sites (like ours, although we didn’t post this story) have to trust these “journalists” when they put this stuff out there, because there is no way to be on top of every player on every team in every sport.

A former writer for the WaPo sports section, Jason La Canfora (now with NFL Network) seemed a bit tweaked too, and put out this tweet today.

“If I’m the Washington Post, I’m thinking seriously about suspending a sports columnist. No surprise the Big Ben tweet was a hoax,” he said.

What did Wise think of a former colleague saying this?

“In these kind of instances, you find out who is making sure you’re okay and who has your back and who wants to pile on,” he said. “This is a good moment for me personally to find out who is a peripheral friend and who actually is a person who has no idea the genesis of this and how it came about.”

Ok, maybe that’s the case. But, can’t you understand why people would be pissed if you made them look stupid because of your fake tweet? How can you not understand this concept?

He was asked about the use of his Twitter account for breaking news.

“I’ve never broken news on my Twitter account in my life,” Wise said. “The only news I ever broke on my Twitter account was that Shaq is not, in fact, engaged to Hoops. That’s not exactly what I would call breaking news.

“I’m a columnist. I have fun on that Twitter account. It’s used as an outreach for other readers and other people, that’s what the Post gave me the account for. Now, that does not preempt me from any of the Twitter rules that we have that apply to this kind of stuff, and I have ever reason to apologize for…not everybody is listening to the radio show. It’s my fault.”

Yep, it’s your fault. Every report of yours from now on will have to end with “no, but I’m serious!”

Wise was particularly critical of Mike Florio from, who was less than thrilled about Wise’s little stunt.

“This is what he does,” Wise said. “This is a guy…of all people. I don’t mind some people, with what I would call integrity in this business, saying ‘you’re an idiot.’ In Florio’s case, I guess he called me a I-D-I-O-T…I don’t mind some people doing that. Mike Florio is probably the last person on Earth that should be criticizing anybody on this. This is the reason why I did something like this. Again, I picked a lousy avenue.

“You’re not checking out a major story like that before you post it?”

This is what you don’t get, Mike. Information coming from you is supposed to be already checked. If we can’t trust people from the Washington Post, then who can we trust.