A Fox television affiliate in Dallas created a rare moment in recent internet history Thursday, uniting basically everyone across the political spectrum in outrage over a tweet highlighting that investigators had found marijuana in the apartment of a Texas man who had been shot dead by a police officer.
Off-duty Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger shot and killed Botham Jean, her neighbor, in his home last week after she said she mistakenly entered his apartment, thinking it was her own, and thought he was an intruder. The 30-year-old was arrested and charged with manslaughter on Sunday before being released on a $300,000 bond.
On Thursday, Fox 4 News obtained a copy of the unsealed police affidavit and posted a report about what authorities found after searching the crime scene, highlighting that Jean, 26, had a small amount of marijuana in his apartment. Other outlets, including the Associated Press, chose to focus on other uncovered items, like two bullet casings.
The station then tweeted: "DEVELOPING: Search warrant: Marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment after deadly shooting."
Almost immediately, people on Twitter reacted in outrage, slamming the station for "smearing" Jean and perpetuating a racist narrative that the victim was somewhat culpable because he had drugs in his home.
"This smear is despicable," said the former director of the Office of Government Ethics.
"you have to be high af to run this shit," tweeted a senior Silicon Valley engineer.
"Go to hell."
It might even be a contender for a "worst journalism" award, said this New York Times correspondent.
The tweet quickly went viral, garnering more than 17,000 responses from mostly outraged users. Even conservatives were like, WTF?
"How is this germane to what happened?" asked Dana Loesch, the National Rifle Association spokesperson.
"When you have lost Dana Loesch, you know you are really, really wrong," this guy said.
"100% irrelevant," said Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor.
Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief for the conservative website the Daily Wire, also sarcastically questioned why the weed was at all relevant to the investigation.
Retweeting Loesch, an editor of the National Review, another right-leaning news outlet, said that Botham "could have been running the world’s largest illegal marijuana dispensary and that would make no difference whatsoever to the facts, or change that he was the innocent victim here."
"Now release the blood test of the cop who killed a man in his own home," Drew McCoy, an expert in American politics, said.
This journalism professor also had ~questions~ about the headline and why the station chose not to include all the other items investigators found that were directly connected to the shooting.
Reached by phone for comment, an employee in the Fox 4 news division told BuzzFeed News the station had "no comment."
But shortly after they were inundated with the massive wave of backlash, the station recast its story.
"Lawyers 'disgusted' by release of search warrant showing marijuana found in Botham Jean's apartment," the updated headline read.