Politically Correct Tattletale Culture and Social Media Shaming

Photo illustration by Andrew B. Myers; Prop stylist - Sonia Rentsch

Photo illustration by Andrew B. Myers; Prop stylist – Sonia Rentsch

Politically Correct Tattletale Culture and Social Media Shaming 

Better watch what you say and do, because the politically correct tattletales — with their cell phone cameras and social media accounts — are everywhere…

Politically Correct: ‘Agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.” Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politically%20correct

Tattletale: “One who tattles on others; an informer or talebearer, especially among children; a scandalmonger or gossip. One who gives incriminating information about others: informant, informer, tattler. Informal: rat, tipster, fink. Slang: snitch, snitcher, squealer, stoolie, stool pigeon.” Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tattletale

Not a Very P. C. Thing to Say

“Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

“It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity…”

Read more: Not a Very P. C. Thing to Say – http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/not-a-very-pc-thing-to-say.html 

CNN: The price of public shaming in the Internet age

“Do you believe in forgiveness? Do you believe in second chances? Of course you do. Everybody makes mistakes. To err is human, to forgive divine. Right? Not in the age of social media…”

Continue reading: CNN: The price of public shaming in the Internet age – http://tinyurl.com/p4vfosf

Why You Should Think Twice Before Shaming Anyone on Social Media

“Shaming, it seems, has become a core competency of the Internet, and it’s one that can destroy both lives and livelihoods. But the question of who’s responsible for the destruction — the person engaging in the behavior or the person revealing it — depends on whom you ask. At its best, social media has given a voice to the disenfranchised, allowing them to bypass the gatekeepers of power and publicize injustices that might otherwise remain invisible. At its worst, it’s a weapon of mass reputation destruction, capable of amplifying slander, bullying, and casual idiocy on a scale never before possible… Online shaming is a door that swings only one way: You may have the power to open it, but you don’t have the power to close it. And sometimes what rushes through that door can engulf you too.”

Read more: Why You Should Think Twice Before Shaming Anyone on Social Media – http://www.wired.com/2013/07/ap_argshaming/

Australian man falsely mass-shamed on social media as pedophile

“THE MAN at the centre of a social media firestorm has been left devastated at being labelled a paedophile on Facebook.

“While he was reluctant to speak about his experience, he told the Knox Leader exclusively that he wanted some good to come from the “nightmare”.

“We have chosen not to identify the man.

“He said he was horrified that his image had been shared thousands of times and he had been called a “creep” and a “sex offender”. He said he has also had death threats on Facebook…”

Continue reading: Australian man falsely mass-shamed on social media as pedophile – http://tinyurl.com/qz69r3l

Facebook Shaming: Mum Sorry Over ‘Creep’ Slur

“A mother who shamed a man on social media because she thought he was taking pictures of her children has apologised after receiving death threats.

“The woman, who does not want to be named, took a photo of the man in a shopping centre in Melbourne, Australia, and posted it on Facebook – branding him a “creep”.

‘It turned out the father-of-three was only taking a selfie photo in front of a Darth Vader sign to send to his children.

“The woman’s photo was shared more than 20,000 times and the devastated man was forced to contact police after being wrongly labelled a paedophile.

“The mother, who does not want to be named, said she had tried to contact the man to apologise after she received two death threats – one in person and the other on Facebook.

“She phoned her local newspaper, the Knox Leader, to issue an apology and said she had been unable to sleep since the incident.

“Her children are to receive counselling because they are so upset by it.

“My kids are now suffering because of a stupid mistake I made,” she said…”

Read more: Facebook Shaming: Mum Sorry Over ‘Creep’ Slur http://news.sky.com/story/1482245/facebook-shaming-mum-sorry-over-creep-slur

Are the benefits of Internet shaming worth the costs?

“The attractions of a new shame culture, where denizens of Twitter and Facebook target people who harm society, are easy to see. Our plodding legal system often fails to do justice because of high standards of proof, the expense of lawyers, and the weakness of the laws—laws that are often so weak because rich corporations exert so much influence over legislatures. Indeed, shaming allows us to avoid the messy business of legislation in the first place; moral norms are enforced directly, so one doesn’t need to wait for the political system to lurch into motion. If there is no law against making racist arguments, we can nonetheless shame people who do. Shaming seems like a democratic, cost-effective, and fluid device for combating environmental degradation, racism, and homophobia—for creating a virtuous society. But the truth is nearly the opposite… The major effect of social media is that it enables people to broadcast an opinion—or, more accurately, a gut reaction—to the whole world, instantly, without pausing to give it any thought. This, combined with pervasive anonymity and traditional animosity to anyone who acts or thinks unconventionally, has awoken atavistic instincts that are multiplied a hundredfold through herd mentality. And then these ill-considered reactions are stored indefinitely, while being immediately accessible to anyone, thanks to the efficiency of search engines…”

Read more: Are the benefits of Internet shaming worth the costs? – http://tinyurl.com/p4vfosf

Monica Lewinsky and Jon Ronson on How Social-Media Shaming Turns Us All into Bullies: https://youtu.be/S3kAVeympZ4 via @YouTube

“So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”, by Jon Ronson – http://www.amazon.com/So-Youve-Been-Publicly-Shamed/dp/1594487138

“How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life”, by Jon Ronson – http://nyti.ms/1F1nA5B

A Social Media Mistake Is Not a Good Reason to Be Fired

“Jon Ronson’s forthcoming book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, can’t reach front porches soon enough, assuming it resembles the adaptation published in The New York Times. The journalist and humorist revisits the stories of mostly obscure people who showed bad judgment (as every Internet user has done at one time or another) but were unlucky enough to become the focus of an angry digital mob. The nature of their transgressions varies. But in each case, the punishments arbitrarily urged or meted out by callous strangers on social media affected their lives for years, costing them jobs, causing them to flee from their homes, stressing their loved ones, and sending them into states of existential despair…”

Read more: A Social Media Mistake Is Not a Good Reason to Be Fired http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/being-shamed-on-social-media-should-not-get-people-fired/385597/

Jon Ronson on public shaming in the social media age

“We no longer flog offenders in the public square. But we have ways of making them suffer. And what happens to the targets after the outraged mob has moved on? Journalist Jon Ronson’s juicy new book, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” follows up on some of the best-known recent cases of online opprobrium. Along the way, he meditates on social media (mostly Twitter), political correctness, sex scandals, apologies, punishment and forgiveness…”

Read more: Jon Ronson on public shaming in the social media age – http://nwsdy.li/1MNQWDR

The shameful shaming of Twitter’s digital mobs

“Mobs are defined by no ideas at all beyond wanting to cause trouble, exclude, bully, ridicule, or hurt someone deemed worthy of suffering. What’s distinctive about a mob is its character as a group of people whipped up into an irrational frenzy, sometimes by a single leader, and other times by members of the crowd itself.

“In the days before social media, a mob could only form in physical space — a street corner or city park, a farmer’s field or town square. Twitter has created a virtual place for throngs to come together — and endless opportunities for mobs to spontaneously form.

“Twitter is an ideal medium for mobs because it is so democratic. Countless thousands mulling about an agora of infinite expanse, each person given the same 140 characters with which to pronounce, denounce, show off, and shine in a glaring public spotlight…”

Read more: The shameful shaming of Twitter’s digital mobs – http://theweek.com/articles/539494/shameful-shaming-twitters-digital-mobs

Social shaming kids is doing more harm than good

“When it comes to disciplining your children, some parents say spanking is best, while other opt for conversation.  These days, some parents are choosing to punish their kids in public, using social media. 

“Some child development experts are against it though, saying the explosion of social media shaming is doing more harm than good…”

Read more: Social shaming, doing more harm than good – http://www.wach.com/news/story.aspx?id=1200826#.VVU59FVViko

Social Media Shaming Part 1 https://youtu.be/VErsy4Hx8eE via @YouTube

Social Media Shaming Part 2 https://youtu.be/CKJqE4jszbM via @YouTube

A recent example of tattletale culture and social media shaming

Drivers get coffee, leave hearse with veteran’s flag-draped coffin in parking lot… https://youtu.be/O-QVxJLHWW8 via @YouTube

Internet Mob Justice Isn’t Justice At All

“The latest story of internet mob justice is a depressing one.

“Two elderly hearse drivers driving the flag-draped coffin of a military man stopped to grab a donut before their long drive from one Florida town to the next.

“A man saw the parked hearse and took a video of himself confronting them about this apparent disrespect to a fallen hero.

“When they didn’t seem remorseful for stopping at a Dunkin Donuts, he sent the video to a pro-veterans group. One thing led to another and the video went viral, the internet freaked out, and the two men—both in their seventies—lost their jobs.

“Our lives are now ruined because of a donut,” one of the men wrote on Facebook.

“God forgive me. We now have no means of income because of a donut and being human.”

“Few things are as dangerous as the toxic mix of hero worship and outrage culture…”

Continue reading: Internet Mob Justice Isn’t Justice At All – http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2015/05/14/internet-mob-justice-isnt-justice-at-all/

Social Shaming and the Search for Validation: WVU Professor Examines How, Why

“One theme in our paper is that social media increases the ability of aggrieved individuals to rally a large group of people around their cause, or publicly expose and embarrass someone they define as a deviant,” Manning said. “A virtual mob can be mobilized overnight to spread the word of someone’s alleged wrongdoing, flood his or her inbox with hate mail, and apply other kinds of pressure.”

“In the case of the ESA, the British scientist gave a tearful apology days after the social media storm. Though that controversy was over relatively quickly, Manning added that there are more violent and hurtful consequences of these public shamings.

“Modern media provides new ways of harming others and tarnishing their reputations. People can now be more easily humiliated by publicly exposing their private affairs, such as posting nude pictures or other sensitive information online,” he said. “Such exposure might even drive someone to suicide…”

Read more: Social Shaming and the Search for Validation: WVU Professor Examines How, Why – http://www.newswise.com/articles/social-shaming-and-the-search-for-validation-wvu-professor-examines-how-why

Social Media Shaming https://youtu.be/V4BvyJWKWDE via @YouTube

The politics of shaming | The Sunday Talk https://youtu.be/h6pAEvKPEgQ via @YouTube

About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Culture, Media, Society and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Politically Correct Tattletale Culture and Social Media Shaming

  1. Breastfeeding mom outraged when stranger posts photo of her on social media

    “A young mother who breast-fed her son inside a restaurant said she was later horrified to discover that a picture of her feeding her child had been posted on social media by a stranger whom she claims was shaming her…”

    Continue reading: Breastfeeding mom outraged when stranger posts photo of her on social media – http://www.katv.com/story/29207384/breastfeeding-mom-outraged-when-stranger-posts-photo-of-her-on-social-media

  2. Girl jumps off overpass days after father posts ‘public shaming’

    “(WAFF) – A 13-year-old girl committed suicide by jumping off an overpass in Washington, and many are mad at her father for the video he had posted of her several days before, according to jezebel.com and Tacoma’s News Tribune.

    “The original video that is allegedly Izabel Lamana was removed from YouTube, but one of her friends shared it by videoing the original on his phone, according to jezebel.com. The video is titled “The bad side of social media shaming: Izzy’s Story” by YouTube user Lift Up.

    “Those who heard the story and watched the video online are lashing out against what they are calling “public shaming” and “social media shaming” from Lamana’s father.

    “The video shows a girl with short hair and then pans to hair on the ground that appears to have been cut from her head.

    “The consequences of getting messed up, man, you lost all that beautiful hair,” you can hear a man say. “Was it worth it?”

    “You can watch the full video here…”

    Source: Girl jumps off overpass days after father posts ‘public shaming’ –

  3. WATCH: Dad Slams Parents Who Shame Kids on Social Media

    “One Florida dad has a message for parents: Stop shaming your kids on social media.

    “Wayman Gresham posted a video to Facebook, where he announced that he was going to cut his son’s hair due to bad behavior. But he didn’t follow through on the stunt; instead, he gave his son a hug before launching into a speech against public shaming…”

    Continue reading: WATCH: Dad Slams Parents Who Shame Kids on Social Media – http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/06/03/wayman-gresham-parents-stop-shaming-your-kids-social-media

  4. Drivers go into Hardee’s, leave hearse with veteran’s flag-draped coffin in parking lot

    “Another photo of a flag-draped coffin left unattended in a hearse parked at a fast food restaurant is causing outrage on social media.

    “You may remember back in may, a customer snapped a photo of a hearse that was parked at a New Port Richey Dunkin Donuts. The hearse was unoccupied. Funeral home workers had gone inside the restaurant and left it with the front window down and the black curtains drawn to reveal a flag-draped coffin containing a veteran inside.

    “The photo went viral on the internet with many people criticizing the worker’s actions, saying they were disrespectful of the dead veteran in the coffin.

    “Now, similar photos showing a hearse parked at a Hardee’s in Virginia are causing a stir.

    “The man who took the photos says the body inside was left alone while the driver and another person got food. The deceased was a veteran.

    “David Disch says he saw the hearse pull into a Hardee’s parking lot on Independence Boulevard in Virginia Beach and watched two employees get out…

    “So he took action, capturing pictures and taking the matter to social media…”

    Read more: Drivers go into Hardee’s, leave hearse with veteran’s flag-draped coffin in parking lot – WFLA News Channel 8 http://www.wfla.com/story/29276689/drivers-go-into-hardees-leave-hearse-with-veterans-flag-draped-coffin-in-parking-lot

  5. ronster12012 says:


    What is needed is a new social trend to stop apologising for people’s hurt feelings and just basically say “up yours!”. That is the only way to stop this shit. This phenomenon is really about the pussification of the western world first and online bullies and shaming second. It seems that everyone so wants to avoid giving offense they will sack hearse drivers who get a morning coffee rather than tell the mob to go screw themselves.

    We used to have such a thing as a right to our own opinions, now we are expected to follow the opinions of the mob to avoid being a target. Sick…

    • I think there’s a lot of tattling going on. We have too many busybodies these days, who are looking for their 15 minutes of fame. It’s the “Gottcha!” factor in the age of internet outrage. The hurt feelings phenomenon is here to stay, for the near future anyways. Political correctness is all about offenders and those (supposedly) being offended.

      • ronster12012 says:

        I grew up in an era when tattletale(or dobber as we say here)was looked down on….a character flaw even.
        The trouble with being a bit old school as I am( I even use a straight razor) is that there are so many things to be annoyed about! lol
        Actually I think all these things are really symptoms of something else, some other spiritual/emotional emptiness or whatever, the tattletale + gotcha, the whole PC garbage, the celebrity worship, the shallowness of it all………..I am turning into the cranky old bastard I feared i would be lol.

      • I grew up in the same era. We were told NOT to tattle. I think it has to do with political correctness and totalitarianism. We are seeing people become snitches so that they will be rewarded by society and the media. This is only the beginning. It’s going to get much worse as time goes by. It has to do with the collective versus the individual, conformity, behavior modification, thought control, and basically everything Orwell wrote about in 1984.

  6. Tim Hunt: ‘I’ve been hung out to dry. They haven’t even bothered to ask for my side of affairs’

    “As jokes go, Sir Tim Hunt’s brief standup routine about women in science last week must rank as one of the worst acts of academic self-harm in history. As he reveals to the Observer, reaction to his remarks about the alleged lachrymose tendencies of female researchers has virtually finished off the 72-year-old Nobel laureate’s career as a senior scientific adviser.

    “What he said was wrong, he acknowledges, but the price he and his wife have had to pay for his mistakes has been extreme and unfair. “I have been hung out to dry,” says Hunt.

    “His wife, Professor Mary Collins, one of Britain’s most senior immunologists, is similarly indignant. She believes that University College London – where both scientists had posts – has acted in “an utterly unacceptable” way in pressuring both researchers and in failing to support their causes.

    “Certainly the speed of the dispatch of Hunt – who won the 2001 Nobel prize in physiology for his work on cell division – from his various academic posts is startling. In many cases this was done without him even being asked for his version of events, he says. The story shows, if nothing else, that the world of science can be every bit as brutal as that of politics.

    “His treatment also demonstrates the innate cruelty of social media, and in particular the savage power of Twitter, which first revealed the scientist’s transgression. The tale also demonstrates how PR departments, in trying to protect the reputation of institutions, often do so at the expense of the individuals who work for or make up those bodies…”

    Continue reading: Tim Hunt: ‘I’ve been hung out to dry. They haven’t even bothered to ask for my side of affairs’ http://gu.com/p/49nv7/stw

  7. ronster12012 says:


    What was that quote from George Orwell?……”In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” sounds about right. For me now, hysterical responses are directly proportional to the truth value of a statement or act.

  8. Former Mabank firefighter says Facebook post taken out of context

    MABANK, TX (KLTV) – The East Texas firefighter who lost his position after a Facebook comment on the Charleston shooting says the post was taken out of context.

    “The former Mabank Volunteer Firefighter wrote, “He needs to be praised for the good deed he has done,” on a South Carolina newspaper’s Facebook page about a story on the shooting. Kurtis Cook, in an exclusive interview, spoke about the comment that cost him his position and reputation.

    “Cook is a veteran firefighter of 23 years and was eager to sit down with us to explain that controversial comment.

    “When I was looking at the threads and, you know, I was just reading down and there was a person there that posted, was donating a large sum of money to the victims, so I just said ‘This person ought to be praised for his good deed,’” Cook explains.

    “He said headlines across the country portrayed the comment as a reference to the Charleston shooter, Dylann Roof, but Cook said that was not the case at all.

    “Making me look like I’m standing with this comment, like I’m supporting this Dylann guy, and I would never do that. I’m not racist, never been racist.” Cook said…”

    Continue reading: Former Mabank firefighter says Facebook post taken out of context – http://www.kplctv.com/story/29381345/former-mabank-firefighter-says-facebook-post-taken-out-of-context#.VYjQqV0L8Cs.twitter

  9. East Syracuse student mistaken for Syracuse man accused of luring children

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In a case of mistaken identity, an East Syracuse college student was blasted on social media after being confused for a Syracuse man charged with trying to lure kids into his car.

    On Wednesday, police charged Joshua J. Cook, 26, of 216 Village Drive, with charges of attempted luring of a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

    He is accused of trying to get an 11-year-old boy to get into his car and “hang out” on Aug. 4 near Barry park. That encounter is similar to another encounter a day later, police said. Cook was released from jail Thursday on a $25,000 bail bond.

    People, outraged Cook was free and that police did not release his mugshot — Police Chief Frank Fowler said he was withholding the mug shot because police think there are more victims — began searching online.

    It did not take long before someone found the Facebook page of Mary Cook’s 20-year-old son who is a student at Alfred State. He has the same name, but a different age and address.

    That Joshua Cook is not connected to the Barry Park incidents.

    But that didn’t stop people from stealing the 20-year-old’s profile picture from Facebook and posting it in scores of places online, Mary Cook said. More people began sharing his photo, saying terrible things and harassing him, she said.

    “It’s just gone viral. It’s out of control,” she said. “People are seeing it and just sharing it.”

    People began angrily commenting on a story on the Facebook page Unsolved Syracuse, incorrectly claiming the 20-year-old had been arrested, Mary Cook said. She reached out to the Facebook page, but had little success in resolving the matter. So Mary Cook said her husband, who is a retired Syracuse firefighter, called Fowler, the police chief, and asked him to help.

    She said Fowler reached out to the person who runs the page, which sometimes sends police tips on unsolved crimes, and the comments were removed.

    The damage, however, cannot be easily undone, Mary Cook said. More people have shared her son’s photo in other places and some people have in turn shared that without realizing it is the wrong person, she said.

    Mary Cook said her son, who is an Eagle Scout and works two jobs, is worried that the confusion will hurt him after college when trying to find work.

    “If people have posted his picture on their Facebook … please take it down,” she said. “They’re hurting his reputation, they’re hurting his future.”

    Source: East Syracuse student mistaken for Syracuse man accused of luring children http://s.syracuse.com/mtHnGNe

    See also: VIDEO – Man’s reputation hurt by mistaken identity – LocalSYR.com powered by NewsChannel 9 WSYR Syracuse: http://www.localsyr.com/story/d/story/mans-reputation-hurt-by-mistaken-identity/92218/wie6tU2iNkmd7CECIx9dCQ

  10. Man writes open letter to woman reporting ‘creepy guy’ in park

    “CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A man was stopped by police after taking a walk in the park with his camera last month. A neighbor spotted David Updike taking photographs and feared that he was taking pictures of children. She took his picture and reported a “creepy guy” to police.

    “Six police officers cornered Updike on the sidewalk near his home where he was questioned for 20 minutes. Updike was very upset by the anonymous neighbor’s behavior. He did not do anything wrong. The entire situation could have been avoided if the woman had simply introduced herself…”

    Continue reading: Man writes open letter to woman reporting ‘creepy guy’ in park http://go.fox13now.com/1MEYjl4 via @fox13now

    • ronster12012 says:


      What saddens me as much as the tattletale acts themselves is the latent sadism behind the tattlers….the self righteous delight in another’s suffering.

      I was at a friends place awhile ago, and his dumb as a very dumb rock wife was going on about someone she accused of being a pedo. I asked her what evidence did she actually have that X was a pedo. She said “everyone says he is”. I said that that isn’t exactly a good reason to hang someone. She then accused me of being a pedo as I was apparently defending him…..at which point I realised that ‘they really do like amongst us’.

  11. Intern loses job after posting offensive tweet

    “October 27, 2015 – CHANDLER, Ariz. – Over the weekend, Twitter user @Eri82185 posted a picture of herself and another woman picking cotton with the caption: “Our inner ****** came out today.”What do you think?

    “When Twitter users discovered the poster’s identity as Erika Escalante, many sent tweets to her, stating the post was offensive and even contacted her employer, Isagenix.

    “Isagenix replied on Facebook and Twitter:

    “We are shocked and outraged by the actions of one of our interns this past weekend. Her actions and social media posts do not reflect the values we hold so dearly. Effective immediately, she is no longer associated with us. We are committed to a world that respects all cultures and we welcome anyone who seeks to join us in making our world a healthier place to live….”

    Read more: Intern loses job after posting offensive tweet http://www.fox5dc.com/news/39756850-story

  12. ronster12012 says:

    Have we reached ‘peak political correctness yet? Must be close……

  13. Mom who left child in car did nothing illegal, police confirm

    “A Spokane woman was confronted in the parking lot of the South Hill Target for leaving her baby in her car by a man armed with a smartphone however, while the court of social media public opinion has called her out, what she did was not illegal.

    “The man shooting the video actually tells the woman he is going to report her and the Spokane Police Department confirms the incident was reported, however the law says what it appears this woman did is not illegal…”

    Read more: Mom who left child in car did nothing illegal, police confirm | Spokane – KXLY.com http://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/mom-who-left-child-in-car-did-nothing-illegal-police-confirm/37562284

  14. “I wish people wouldn’t rush to judge.”
    An Alabama woman captured a disturbing video at a Taco Bell/KFC that quickly went viral, but the worker shown in it says it’s not what it looks like: http://bit.ly/2b8fixW

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