The backfiring of the dropping of Carson King because of the Des Moines Register reporter digging up his old tweets continues:
You might remember the controversy when the Des Moines Register surfaced a couple of obnoxious racist tweets that 24-year-old Carson King had sent when he was 16. King had become a kind of goofy populist star after a sign he held up on ESPN asking for beer money landed him a contract to promote Busch Light, his favorite brand. He was using his fame to raise millions for an Iowa children’s hospital. The paper was doing a profile of him, and its reporter went digging into all his past tweets, finally finding some incriminating ones that were eight years old, and written when he was a high school kid, quoting a comedy TV show.
Carson apologized for them, and said he had changed. But it was too late: Anheuser-Busch cut him off, though it agreed to honor its pledge to the children’s hospital. King’s name was ruined — or so it seemed.
But Iowans responded quite differently. They believed — correctly! — that King had been treated badly by the Register, and they raised hell about it. The Iowa governor declared September 28 “Carson King Day” to show solidarity with the young man. As I wrote here, it turns out that the Javert-like SJW reporter who trashed King had himself tweeted vile things in his teenage years, and lost his job because of it. The people of Iowa remain angry at the paper.
A rift over the Des Moines Register’s handling of the Carson King story has led to the resignation of the entire staff of the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa from the newspaper, effective immediately.
In a Tuesday post on RAGBRAI’s Facebook page, TJ Juskiewicz said the Register, “refused to offer me the opportunity to openly speak to the RAGBRAI Nation, and answer the hundreds of passionate questions asked about the future of RAGBRAI following the Des Moines Register’s handling of the Carson King story.”
Juskiewicz said his efforts to communicate with riders were blocked because “it did not mesh with the company’s PR narrative to spin the Carson King embarrassment.”
Juskiewicz says he was told the Register’s leadership, and public relations professionals “don’t want to issue any more public statements on this matter”.
But, Juskiewicz said the Register offered him “talking points for interviews regarding RAGBRAI if the Carson King situation comes up.”
So, 16-years after taking the job as RAGBRAI’s executive director, Juskiewicz, and his staff resigned.
“I can no longer be an effective leader when my principles are compromised by the leadership of Gannett/Des Moines Register,” said Juskiewicz
RAGBRAI was founded in 1973 by John Karras and Donald Kaul.
The seven-day, cross-state bicycle ride across Iowa is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.
But get this — they re-formed to sponsor the same week-long charity bike ride, without any connection to the newspaper. It’s now called “Iowa’s Ride”.
What a spectacular self-destruction of one’s own brand the Des Moines Register has pulled off. I’m so encouraged to see the people of Iowa responding like this, giving the media comeuppance.
Great news, indeed.
This is on top of the fact that some local microbrewery has chosen to honour Carson King for his generosity, and has named a beer after him.
Now the next step should be: everyone stop buying both the Register paper and Budweiser, Busch beer, etc.
Culture War Can Be Waged Back!