A reporter at a Massachusetts-based newspaper resigned Friday after falsely claiming in a tweet Thursday that the man who killed five employees at the Capital Gazette newspaper left a “Make America Great Again” hat at the crime scene.
“Shooter who killed 4 people at Annapolis newspaper dropped his #MAGA hat on newsroom floor before opening fire,” Conor Berry, a reporter at The Republican in Springfield, Mass., wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
Berry, who covered politics and crime for The Republican, apologized for the “stupid” and “regrettable” tweet Friday, adding that it made his 21-year career as a journalist come to a “screeching halt.”
Folks, My 21-year career as a “journalist,” a fancy term that makes my skin crawl, frankly, came to a screeching halt yesterday with one stupid, regrettable tweet. Can’t take it back; wish I could. My sincere apologies to all good, hardworking reporters and to POTUS supporters.
— CONOR BERRY (@CBerry413) June 29, 2018
Berry’s bio on Twitter now reads: “Former newspaper reporter.”
Berry took full responsibility for the tweet in a resignation notice posted Friday on The Republican’s website.
“I am ashamed of my tweet, which taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere,” Berry said.
“We need to be more vigilant than ever to be fair and accurate in a climate in which we are scrutinized and criticized,” said Wayne Phaneuf, the executive editor of the newspaper, in a statement.
In a follow-up interview with the Boston Globe, Berry said his tweet was a “snarky, sarcastic, cynical remark,” and lamented that his tweet gave more fuel to critics of the news media that believe reporters try to push a partisan agenda.