We all know how things can get blown out of proportion on the World Wide web and the Nutter administration has been doing some clarifying all morning after a report that the city would start issuing tickets for pedestrians who text while walking. The tidbit was buried at the bottom of a CBS Philly story. It also picked up tons of steam in part after reports began to rise on prominent sites like Gawker.
Gawker has a great quote from Nutter's press secretary Mark McDonald: "Your whack job reporter can spin his puerile fantasies about doing
violence to people he does not like, but he first needs to get his facts
straight. Indeed, Max might want to do a little READING before he
Nutter tweeted this morning:
It is NOT illegal to text and walk in Philly. You will NOT be fined. You will NOT be ticketed.
Deputy Mayor of Transportation Rina Cutler also confirmed to me that texting while walking is not illegal and that she's not sure how the rumor got started.
People on Twitter started blaming Phawker for the incorrect reports, but their post clearly references the CBS Philly story. Did Phawker blow it out of proportion? Yes. Did they initiate the report? No.
The whole fury had some "journalists" eating crow as well. DN Columnist and FOX News contributor Mark Lamont Hill went on a rampage before learning the story was false.
From Hill's Twitter account:
OK, I'm now reading that "Mayor" Nutter says this report is not true. I
wonder if it was bad info or the city is changing bc of bad press.
And his excuse:
@witness2live well, i read several articles. I had no way of knowing. once I read the mayor's respnse, I tweeted that too!
That's why most of us do something called fact-checking before writing columns. In fairness, Hill is probably not the only one who ran with the false reports. That's what the web so great and Twitter the best invention ever!