TV Talk Show Host Caught in Double Whammy Twitter Gaffe

Margaret Thatcher Is Not Dead …

TV Talk Show Host Caught in Double Whammy Twitter Gaffe

One of the key benefits of social media is that your messages can reach more people faster. But this also means that your mistakes can too.

A social gaffe can lead to an awkward situation and can be quite embarrassing especially if it’s as a result of your own actions.  Make sure you have your story straight – go social without the facts and you’ll have egg on your face.

Mario Dumont is a television personality and former Québec politician.  He was a member of the National Assembly of Québec from 1994 to 2009. He now hosts a daily news and talk show.  In May 2012, Mario Dumont wrongly twitted that Margaret Thatcher was dead, by tweeting the following message:

 R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher, a woman of vision and decisiveness. A rarity,


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The road to hell is often paved with good intentions

The same medium that made your mistake widely visible can help broadcast your apology.  Be up-front about the mistake you made and apologize.

Despite having the best of intentions, Monsieur Dumont faltered on many fronts:

  • He was deceived by a spoof Twitter account attributed to former French first lady Carla Bruni.  The fake-Bruni falsely announced the death of “Margareth Thatcher”, notice the misspelled first name with a “th” at the end of Margaret.

Key take-aways: beware of rumors, famous fakes and misspellings

  • He caused outrage since people took offence to him calling Margaret Thatcher a “rare” woman of vision and decisiveness.  This was interpreted as an unintended slight to women.

Key take-away: carefully word your tweets; it’s amazing how much trouble you can get into with as little as 140 characters


7 Tips on How to Apologize in the Business World by Tom Searcy


Apologies Galore

  • Monsieur Dumont retracted himself and issued an apology in which he explains being duped by the fake Bruni Twitter account.
“The news about Mrs. Thatcher — not a reliable source. News came from a fake Carla Bruni account. Sorry.”
  • LesNews, a French speaking Twitter feed that reports breaking news via social media also found itself apologizing for the gaffe.  They had reported based on Monsieur Dumont’s initial Thatcher tweet.

The resistance to apologizing does all sorts of bad things professionally.  The longer issues are left unaddressed, the deeper the resentment and the harder it is to move forward.

Unintended Benefits

  • In a follow up tweet, Monsieur Dumont said he was surprised by news reports about his mistake – and by the number of new Twitter followers he now has.

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You can run, but you can’t hide

Politwoops: deleted tweets from politicians

We all tweet things we don’t mean to share, but now – thanks to Politwoops – politicians have no way to hide them. The service allows you to discover tweets that politicians shared and then promptly deleted.

The original version of Politwoops was developed by the Open State Foundation of The Netherlands to follow the country’s members of parliament and town council representatives. The US version is operated by the Sunlight Foundation.

Several other international versions of the site exist though not operated by Sunlight.


Don’t be an Autrich

… although sometimes you might want to.

Did you Tweet something, then change your mind? Don’t worry! It’s easy to delete one of your Twitter updates. Keep in mind that you can only delete tweets that you have made, you can’t delete other users’ tweets from your timeline and you can’t delete someone else’s retweet (RT) of your post.

How to delete one of your Tweets:

  1. Log in to
  2. Visit your Profile page.
  3. Locate the Tweet you want to delete.
  4. Hover your mouse over the message and click Delete.

Watch a YouTube video demonstration.

Facebook lets you edit your comments by Nancy Blair via USA Today


Know when and how to apologize

Remember that despite your best efforts, mistakes happen at some point.  Be sure to have a plan to respond to both positive and negative events.  Apologizing opens up the doors to communication, which allows you to reconnect and move on more easily.  Apologizing doesn’t have to be difficult, and can come from a place of strength. Learn the art of apologizing effectively and you may find a significant reduction in the negative effects of highly charged situations.

When everyone can see what you’re doing, you need to act with transparency, honesty and credibility.  In doing so, you’ll avoid having eggs thrown at you.


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