Congressional Staff Member Sends Fake Tweets During Sandy

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There’s no lying, Hurricane Sandy was a superstorm ripping through the East Coast. As of last check the death toll is at 74 and an estimated $20 billion in property loss. So the last thing that we need is someone making it worse than it already is.

But that’s just what one congressional campaign manager did. Shashank Tripath, 29, has confessed to tweeting out blatant lies to his over 6,500 followers on Twitter during the height of the storm.

Under the guise of his Twitter handle @ComfortablySmug he is being blamed for spreading the now-widely debunked rumor that the New York Stock Exchange trading floor had been flooded with 3 feet of standing water. The rumor was eventually picked up by CNN and New York Magazine until NYSE officials shot it down.

Other rumors included a false report that power would be shut down in all of Manhattan and that the New York subway would be closed for the entire week.

Tripathi was first ousted by BuzzFeed which led to his resignation from Christopher Wright’s New York City congressional campaign. He then took to, you guessed it, Twitter and apologized.

“I wish to offer the people of New York a sincere, humble and unconditional apology,” Tripathi tweeted. “During a natural disaster that threatened the entire city, I made a series of irresponsible and inaccurate tweets.”

But what gets me is that while Tripathi’s tweets were used as news sources. There is no excuse for that. As a journalist it is our job to check the facts and sources. Looks like there’s a new storm brewing on credibility.

What do you think about this? Serve up your thoughts.

And that’s today’s helping of The Online Dish with Maggie.