Their Rules: Des Moines Register Journo at Center of Carson King Tweet Controversy Gets Canceled

Screen grab via 11Alive.
Des Moines Register, Carson King
Screen grab via 11Alive.

Brandon Morse wrote earlier this week about how Carson King, the Iowa man who helped raise over $1 million for a local children’s hospital last weekend after a Busch Light beer sign he carried went viral on ESPN, had his life turned upside down after the Des Moines Register dug into his tweet history and discovered a couple of racist jokes King had written 7 years ago when he was 16.


Read how reporter Aaron Calvin described them Tuesday in what was an otherwise mostly glowing profile of King and his sudden rise to fame:

A routine background check of King’s social media revealed two racist jokes, one comparing black mothers to gorillas and another making light of black people killed in the holocaust. The joke tweets date back to 2012, when King was a 16-year-old high school student.

When asked about the tweets, King was remorseful and thanked the Register for pointing them out, saying they made him “sick.” He has since deleted them.

“That’s not something that I’m proud of at all,” he told the Register during the day Tuesday.

Tuesday evening, King spoke to local television stations about the now-deleted tweets.

“I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16-year-old,” he said in a statement posted by WHO-TV. “I want to sincerely apologize.”

Here’s a short video from 11Alive talking about King’s tweets and explaining what has become known as “Cancel Culture” – which is basically canceling a person’s good works or deeds over offensive things they were found to have posted on their social media accounts in the past:

Unfortunately, there were other consequences to Calvin and the Des Moines Register digging up the King’s old tweets:


Anheuser-Busch InBev, Busch Light’s parent company, announced in a statement Tuesday night that they will “have no further association with [King],” though they will honor their agreement to match the funds for the children’s hospital.

As it turns out, in spite of the controversy sparked by King’s tweets and the Des Moines Register publishing them, King has ended up having a much better week than the reporter who featured them in his story.

Calvin, whose past tweets contained offensive content as well, is no longer with the paper:

As of this writing, Calvin’s Twitter account has been set to “Protected Tweets” status, meaning only the people who were already following him can see what he’s tweeting:

Aaron Calvin Twitter page
Source: Twitter screen grab.

I’m not a big fan of cancel culture, but I’m also not a fan of the mainstream media doing so-called “routine background checks” of someone’s Twitter/FB/Instagram history outside of situations where it may be relevant to the story (like a crime story where the news outlet is digging into the past of the alleged perp and things of that nature). This was a feel-good story about a local guy doing a good thing, and the paper of record in the state completely blew it in their rush to play social media police.


So while I’m not celebrating or laughing over the fact that Calvin is out at the Des Moines Register, I’m also not shedding any tears. Calvin was hoisted by the media’s own petard. It remains to be seen if the editors who approved the story (and those behind the supposed background check policy in the first place) will find themselves on the receiving end of cancel notices, too.

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –


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