Twitter controversy swoops through Shelby County Commission

Carpenter sent the Tweet during Wednesday's meeting.
Carpenter sent the Tweet during Wednesday's meeting.

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Twitter controversy swooped through the Shelby County Commission Wednesday after a commissioner made a comment that was disparaging to a Shelby County city.

Twitter is an Internet micro-blog where people post quick messages, known as Tweets, about what's going on in their world.  During a Shelby County Commission Wednesday morning, as usual, Commissioner Mike Carpenter was Tweeting about commission business.

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"I get comments all the time about the Tweets," Carpenter said. "People appreciate being kept informed. Unfortunately, you can't all the time give all the detail."

During Wednesday's meeting, Carpenter Tweeted about an exchange between Commissioners Wyatt Bunker and Terry Roland.  It said "Comm Roland discussing situation in Millington where person selling pit bulls. Comm Bunker: "Don't they eat those in Millington?"

That Tweet was not only broadcast to Commissioner Carpenter's 570 followers, but anyone in the world who looked up Carpenter's public profile on Twitter had access to the comment.  FlagCityNews is just one of the Twitter users who re-Tweeted the post to his followers.

"It was only meant as a joke," Bunker said later. "Never to offend anyone."

Bunker said he was just poking fun at his fellow commissioner.

"It's just me picking at Commissioner Roland, knowing that he lives in the area of Millington," he said.

Roland, who was on the receiving end of the exchange, said Bunker's comments were taken out of context on Twitter.

"It was a joke by Wyatt. I objected to it, but I didn't take him seriously," he said.

Commissioners said they never lost sight of the ordinance at hand.  

"What this would do is ban the sale of roadside animals," Carpenter said.

"They're having a huge problem with these puppy mills in Missouri and they're bringing them down to our area," Roland added. "I agree with the ordinance. I think we need to stop this."

The ordinance, which passed unanimously, will go through two more readings before it goes to the full commission.

Meanwhile, Carpenter said Wednesday's exchange showed him the power of social media, and he'll work harder to point out when a comment is made in jest.

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