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Riffing on the newspaper’s predicament, David Karpf, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, poked fun at Stephens on Twitter on Monday evening. The post received nine likes and zero retweets.

What followed was as close to the perfect Streisand effect as one could imagine. Stephens, who was not tagged in the original post, emailed Karpf, and copied in the provost of the university, in an apparent attempt to get Karpf in trouble.

And then it went viral.

Karpf shared news of the scolding on Twitter, in a post that has now been retweeted 7,500 times and liked 48,500 (and counting). …

Stephens wrote: ‘I’m often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people – people they’ve never met – on Twitter. I think you’ve set a new standard. I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face. That would take some genuine courage and intellectual integrity on your part.’ …

On Tuesday, Stephens announced he was leaving Twitter. ‘Time to do what I long ago promised to do. Twitter is a sewer. It brings out the worst in humanity. I sincerely apologize for any part I’ve played in making it worse, and to anyone I’ve ever hurt. Thanks to all my followers, but I’m deactivating this account.’



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