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Editor's Trump tweet earns rebuke

Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler publicly rebuked a senior editor for tweeting that President Trump had blood on his hands after a mass shooting in an American newsroom.

Rob Cox (photo), founder and global editor of Reuters commentary service Breakingviews, tweeted: “This is what happens when @realDonald Trump calls journalists the enemies of the people. Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul. At least four people killed in Maryland newspaper shooting: reports.”

He subsequently deleted the tweet and posted four others explaining his mistake, but not before an outcry on Twitter calling for him to be fired. One comment read: “Reuters credibility has just taken a nose dive.”

Cox’s later tweets said: “When I saw the news today that a mass shooter had targeted the employees of a newspaper in Maryland I responded emotionally and inappropriately.

“Though my comments were entirely personal, they were not in keeping with the Reuters Trust Principles and my own standards for letting facts, not snap judgments, guide my understanding.

“My experience as a member of the community of Newtown, Connecticut in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, combined with the possibility that my colleagues in the press were being targeted, pushed me into a state of emotional distress.

“I am sorry for my comments, which I quickly deleted and have disavowed, and especially remorseful if they did anything to distract from the thoughts and love we must send to the community of Annapolis.”

In a late night intervention, Adler issued this statement: “Earlier this evening, Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox tweeted about the shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. He has since deleted the tweet and apologized. Mr. Cox’s actions were inconsistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles requiring journalists to maintain freedom from bias. We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action.” ■