Carson King and the Des Moines Register: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
“This is why we can’t have nice things.” Never has that cliché been more true or unfortunate than at this moment when looking at the Carson King story. In about 10 days, an Iowa State fan’s attempt to get a humorous sign shown on College Game Day exploded into a million-dollar plus grass roots fundraising effort for the Stead Family Children’s hospital in Iowa City.
Enter the Des Moines Register.
A week and a half into one of Iowa’s greatest “feel good” stories, a reporter named Aaron Calvin was assigned to fact check the story and do a “routine background check” on Carson’s social media pages. Two racist jokes were found—retweets of a Tosh.O routine—from 2012 when Carson was 16 years old. The editors of the Register chose to report this information as “a few paragraphs toward the bottom of the profile page” rather than make a full story out of this information. Why? Because of the newspapers rooted perception of serving the public good. We think the most good would have been to leave a 16-year-old's tweet where it was; not part of this story.
We can’t hide from our past. We can learn from it. Carson King did. Before he even realized it, he grew up right in front of us. With one sign, he brought out the kindness in all of us. Our giving, and forgiving nature, nurtured by one guy. So for that we say, “Thanks.” And also to Venmo, and Anheuser-Busch, who are still making huge matching contributions and staying true to their original promise to the families of patients at Stead Family Children's Hostpital who have to decide how to move forward in their own way.
We look forward to the next great feel good story. Thanks, Carson, for reminding us what those look like.