Posted: 11:54 am Friday, July 18th, 2014

The #KTB: Kasim Reed’s Twitter-based time-out for reporters 

By Greg Bluestein

Updated at 6:30 p.m. below:

A report from the AJC’s Katie Leslie:

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed isn’t shy about his opinions, especially when it comes to journalists.

The mayor is known to take reporters and columnists to task on Twitter when he disagrees with their work or how he’s portrayed.

If he’s particularly upset, he’ll deploy his press team to take on a story with a press release and social media campaign. (Case in point? This city-issued statement from last fall about AJC opinion writer Kyle Wingfield’s columns on street vendors.)

And if he’s downright angry, he’ll go a step further and put journalists in time-out … on Twitter.

Reed made headlines in Creative Loafing this week for what the news outlet is coining the #KTB: “Kasim Twitter Block” — the mayor’s blocking of journalists on the social media site. The move doesn’t keep reporters from seeing the mayor’s tweets, as his page is public, but prevents their messages from appearing in his newsfeed (and vice-versa) or from retweeting the city leader’s posts.

The story comes on the heels of a guest Op-Ed CL ran July 9 about the Beltline’s debt to APS. The Reed administration — through Twitter and its press team – attacked the opinion piece as missing the mark on Reed’s stance, and questioned the credibility of the authors.

We’ve reached out to members of the mayor’s press team, and will add their thoughts when we hear back. But Reed himself offers a simple explanation in a follow-up tweet for why he goes on the offense:

Though CL reporters Thomas Wheatley and Max Blau didn’t write the piece, they were blocked after a Twitter tango with Reed himself.

Now, Blau has taken a roll-call of journalists who have been placed in Reed’s social media silo.

As you can see in the CL post, we’re no strangers to the #KTB.

Among the other journalists the mayor has blocked, CL tallies, are: Fox 5’s Dale Russell, Cox Media Group’s Justin Gray, GPB’s Jeanne Bonner, WABE’s Jim Burress and Rose Scott.

New material: Now, you might think the Reed administration would be shy about discussing the topic. Far from it. Following is an argument from Reed spokeswoman Anne Torres:

 It’s often easy to forget that the news business is just that – a business.  In the same way that a government is accountable to its constituency, journalists are accountable to the financial bottom line of advertisers, subscribers, and yes, online click-through rates.  It’s this same competitive environment that also causes some journalists to push the envelope on integrity and reality.

No one who uses social media will deny that the Mayor has a comparable following to many news outlets such as Creative Loafing, who currently has 65,000 followers, and reporters including Max Blau and Thomas Wheatley, who have 3,300 followers and 2,700 followers respectively.  And when some news outlets take the easy way out through overly biased or inaccurate reporting, the Mayor is able to respond through social media to an online audience of over 100,000 (59,000 followers on Twitter, 36,000 individuals on Facebook and 25,000 email subscribers).  It’s not about getting “angry,” a charged term that some journalists have used to describe the Mayor’s reaction to inaccurate and misleading articles; it’s about responding to issues of importance and setting the record straight.  

The reality is that as news organizations continue to grapple with new media, they are under tremendous pressure to create content, and increasingly some reporters are resorting to citing anyone as the source for their content.  It’s not responsible, and the Mayor has every right to respond in a direct manner or disengage in instances where no value is being added from the conversation.  That is one of the benefits of social media.

Mayor Reed and this administration don’t have a problem engaging when it’s appropriate.  With so much energy spent by journalists upset being blocked on Twitter, it makes one wonder if these same journalists are actually appalled that someone is willing to stand up to them as so many citizens desire to do, but simply do not have the platform to do so. 

Please understand that we welcome rebellious voices at all times in the comment section below.

Another update: Reed has unblocked at least one reporter: @katieleslienews 

37 comments
GoBraves404
GoBraves404

I mean, It's the guys personal twitter. I block people, follow people and unfollow people everyday! Why is this newsworthy?

ThomasEE
ThomasEE

Bad journalism is the reason that the press has the same job approval as Congress. How is any of this news?

BlakeRodgers
BlakeRodgers

Wow, three stories about being blocked on twitter, zero stories about the city of Atlanta's bond rating being upgraded.

ThomasKrowne
ThomasKrowne

Let's not play games here...if anyone thinks...I know that is a hard concept to fathom...but if anyone THINKS that these reporters are not serving some financial/political agenda of their own... I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

ThomasKrowne
ThomasKrowne

These reporters REALLY need to get over themselves! Are they auditioning for a HOLLYWOOD screenwriting career? Or are they concerned about accurate UNBIASED reporting???

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Who cares? Who would want to "follow" this person anyway. ..   I am not a Twitter (or facebook or myspace, or instangram) user anyway, but IF I were, the mayor would not be allowed on either my follow or follower list. 

RetiredParamedic
RetiredParamedic

What's all the fuss about?  This crap has been going on since Maynard J moved into city hall back in 1972.  With the exception of Andy Young, a truly honorable mayor and gentleman, it's been a parade of buffoons ever since.  The likelihood of another mayor cut from the same cloth (and another, and another, and another) is overwhelming.  So get used to it or move.  Atlanta voters aren't about to change course.

AllieF
AllieF

Reed is a corrupt, lying, hubris Obama-wannabe!  He has financially destroyed Atlanta with his uncontrolled spending and now wants the tax payer to pick up the tab.  When is Atlanta going to wake up and start voting for substance instead of color?????

cheezburger
cheezburger

my classmate's step-aunt makes $68 /hour on the internet . She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her payment was $15854 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read Full Report WWW.JOBS7000.COM


LegolasMirkwood
LegolasMirkwood

A point to ponder:

When it smell like stink everywhere you go, you should check the bottom of your own shoes.



anothercomment
anothercomment

Reed along with Sam Olens both continue to show us how neither one of them is fit for higher office.

Reed is a Bully with a thin skin. Who hopefully will soon find himself following in the footsteps of forever Mayor Campbell, Detroits' former Mayor Kilpatrick, New Orleans Former Mayor Nagin, Dekalb's Burrell Ellis, Pat Pope or Reid. Their is his jail cell waiting for your stealing tax payer money for the Cascade Elite.

Then Olens , next he will find himself disbarred, since he was protecting Deal and not following basic rules of Discovery. If you are Jewish at least be a good Jewish lawyer, Sam. Not turning over basic discovery.

These two can forget any future beyond their current offices.

BubbaBluffton
BubbaBluffton

"Hey, I'm only following the examples of Maynard Jackson, Andy Young, Shirley Franklin and Bill Campbell, with a few pointers picked up along the way from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Joe Lowery, and Barry Obama.

We didn't invent obfuscation but we have gotten it down to a political art form beyond compare. Now where did I put that fresh pack of Race Cards?!?"

MaxMan1
MaxMan1

This smug pig just keeps pooping all over ATL.  When will voters learn.  Move over Detroit.  ATL is the ghetto capital, now...


BubbaBluffton
BubbaBluffton

Real men (and women) don't Tweet.  The Electronic Age of the 21st Century has created a world in which anyone can hide behind an electronic curtain.  It hasn't been so long since individuals stood up and communicated directly with their supporters and detractors and faced an issue based on the strengths or weaknesses in an argument, inquiry or belief. It makes me very sad to have to resort to even this type of response (i.e. posting on a medium's website) yet it is the only method in which my voice can be heard.

Rick_James
Rick_James

Seriously..Unless Kasim Reed is tweeting about making his cronies rich by giving them City of Atlanta and Atlanta Airport business or a city employee shaking down Manuel's what could he possibly have to tweet about that reporters want to read? His marriage or new baby?

AWA1
AWA1

As if Kasim has anything important to say. He hedges everything ... and gets nothing done.

POV1948
POV1948

As Woodrow Wilson and others have said ... some men grow in office, others merely swell.

ThisKevin
ThisKevin

" He’ll deploy his press team."


Or, stated differently, people I pay through my City of Atlanta taxes to carry out the Mayor's personal vendettas.


This megalomaniac can't get out of office fast enough to suit me.  

Rick_James
Rick_James

Just how petty can a thin skinned mayor be? He always seems to top himself..

Ersatz
Ersatz

Insider article = copy-pasted Creative Loafing article?

ATL30309
ATL30309

So juvenile! and petulant.  Grow the f*** up, Mr. Reed.

RichardPlenty
RichardPlenty

Mayor, instead of playing with twitter how about coming downtown and fixing the stoplights on Centennial Olympic Blvd which was messed up by the two new lights you added for the new streetcar fiasco.  We are sitting here at the red lights waiting...and waiting...and waiting.

Obama_Joke
Obama_Joke

Would he blacklist the journalist in New Jersey who dared tell it like it is regarding fatherless black youths?

Fucoff
Fucoff

He's just following the lead of his messiah up in DC. The White House has an ever expanding blacklist of journalists.

findog
findog

typical above reproach attitude of certain politicians

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

MSNBC has already called red out for being an ineffective leader..Something  decent law-abiding tax payers have known for years. In the words of Bugs Bunny, "What an imbecile, what an ultra maroon!"

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

Glad you identified  #KTB: “Kasim Twitter Block” 

Next find his #IAC twitter block (Ignore Atlanta citizens)

Just another poor leader...

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

IMHO, no self respecting, professional journalist should be on reed's twitter feed anyway.

cnt2002
cnt2002

There is no such thing as responsible journalism anymore. Just opinionated people asserting half truths.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

Petulance is a very unattractive attribute for a city executive.

It is an even more undesirable in someone who may choose to seek higher office one day.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

The clatl article makes really good points - actually lays out the argument the Mayor could be making. That he's pulling the #KTB only reinforces the articles lament about the Mayor's "short fuse"

Reed's better than this and should be working for a solution.

How refreshing would it be for a public servant to respond to an article like that by calling a press conference and saying, "I've been called out and, you know what, they are right. From this moment, I'm going to try a reset and see if we can work together on the solution. I'm even going to look at the situation to see if there's something else I can bring to the table to make it work."

Bunker politics are old and tired. Middle East style hyperbole infused negotiations ineffective in the South.

Start over, the word "politic" means shrewdly tactful, influencing groups.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Who would vote for this self-absorbed buffoon? 

DannyX
DannyX

Mayor Reed is the most thin skinned politician ever.

Reed in the past has used an army of sock puppets to defend his positions over at CL, it was actually pretty funny.  He really thought he could get away with it.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Dear Greg and Jim: I think the Mayor will be able to figure out just who Katie is acting as sock-puppet for.

katieleslie
katieleslie

@Ersatz Hey there, the goal of the post was to highlight the Creative Loafing story. That was the news hook, thus the repeated credit to them throughout the piece. Sorry for any confusion! Thanks for reading... -- Katie L.