Skip to content

Link Copied

Catch Up on WaPo’s Epic Weeklong Twitter Drama, By the Numbers

After a week of public humiliation, The Washington Post finally fired reporter Felicia Sonmez Thursday for calling it sexist, racist and homophobic.

SO WHAT

If “Democracy dies in darkness,” per the Post’s official slogan, the mainstream media may die of overexposure.

WHAT HAPPENED

Sonmez’s termination was the resolution of media drama worthy of Shakespeare, but who has time for that? — here’s how it went down by the numbers.

ACT 1: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S TWEET

528: Times a joke was retweeted before Sonmez complained last Friday about Dave Weigel, a fellow national political correspondent at the Post, doing so. (Yes, technically it was a late spring morning tweet.)

13,272: Retweets of the joke since Sonmez complained, approximately.

30: Days Weigel was suspended for, as of Monday, as punishment for what Post editors called his “reprehensible and demeaning” retweet.

ACT 2: THE TEMPEST

200: Tweets by Sonmez slammed her colleagues and managers, including for allegedly discriminating against women, black people and LGBT people.

30: Tweets in one thread by Sonmez criticizing her colleagues and managers for among other things, giving better treatment to white males and making women and LGBT employees feel

2: All-staff memos sent by Post management urging collegiality.

12: Post employees who described their workplace as “collegial” or “collaborative” in the span of a few minutes Tuesday, shortly after the second memo went out.

7: Consecutive days that Sonmez publicly attacked her employer before receiving Thursday’s termination letter for “insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”

ACT 3: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

2,130: Words Vanity Fair devoted to explaining the controversy.

2,198: Words Poynter devoted to it.

30,900,000: Google search results for Felicia Sonmez.

0: Articles Sonmez bylined in the past week.

WHAT’S THE MORAL OF THE STORY?

In an essay for National Review Wednesday, Charles C.W. Cooke argued that the Sonmez saga “illustrates in microcosm the growing threat that Twitter poses to the fortunes of America’s progressive movement.”

  • “At the micro level, Twitter has ruined the public reputation of influential individuals who had been previously assumed to be sane. At the macro level, it has created a suicidal feedback loop that has made the media, academia and the Democratic Party badly out of touch with the real world. Together, these trends are proving catastrophic for progressives,” he wrote.
  • “For comprehensible reasons, conservatives worry about the assiduous manner in which the cultural deck has been stacked against them — the media are biased, the universities are biased, social media are biased. And they’re right. But past a certain point — the point at which our elite institutions have been left embarrassing themselves before the country at large, and their new custodians are determined to burn down their own houses — that may turn out to be less of a problem than we once thought.”

THE 4PM: A HIGHLIGHT REEL OF TODAY’S NEWS. FOR CONSERVATIVES. EVERY AFTERNOON AT 4PM.