Meet the Chicago Tribune’s Unsocial Media Reporter

Meet the king of unsocial media: Rex Huppke.

Rex likes to tell a lot of fart, sex and gay jokes, like other Apatow-wannabe wordslingers. What makes Rex unique, however, is that he does it as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune

Yesterday, after Huppke posted a string of puerile Karl Malden jokes on his Twitter account following the Oscar-winning actor’s death, I tweeted him back with this civil nudge:

Ease up, man. Karl Malden was a person, not a punchline.

To which the Trib reporter elbowed me back in response:

If you can’t take the jokes, get out of the Twitter. (And what are you, head of the Malden fan club or something?)

OK, that’s a little harsh, I thought. But I can take a joke. So I responded:

Take it easy, Rex. All I’m saying is that RIP doesn’t stand for Ridicule in Perpetuity.

To which, Huppke tempestuously tweeted back (as you see above):

And all I’m saying is I don’t give a puckered rat’s ass what you’re saying. Now shoo, before I sick [sic] Malden’s ghost on you.

This kind of frat-house flaming goes on all the time online, of course. But not from a reporter of a major newspaper, writing on behalf of that organization.

Huppke wouldn’t be allowed to write that way in the print edition of his paper. So I wonder what it is about the online medium that allows—and even celebrates—this kind of disrespectful discourse?

Journalists have been complaining for years that bloggers lack integrity. Now it looks like the shoe is now on the other foot. Shape up, Trib. Or simply remove your byline from Huppke’s Twitter page. Then he’s free to tweet whatever sophomoric thing he wants.