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Freshman Rep. Apologizes for #Nazi Tweet - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Freshman Rep. Apologizes for #Nazi Tweet

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When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, news travels fast. Thursday, a freshman representative apologized on the House floor after something she said Wednesday over social media.

Democratic Representative Jessica Haak of Jamestown, North Dakota stirred up controversy in the legislature after tweeting the following message: "We are now in recess and I have been instructed by Al Carlson that I am not allowed to tweet things that are happening on the floor. #Nazi. " 

Majority Leader Carlson quickly found out, and says it was a big mistake on her part.

"We have high ethical standards around here. We don't do that. You can disagree on policy, but not on personality," said Fargo Representative Al Carlson.  "And first of all your job on the floor is to pay attention. Not to be on any twitter or Facebook account giving play by play of the bills we do."

Representative Haak later apologized in person to Representative Carlson, apologized on Twitter and on the House floor.

Carlson accepted the apology, adding legislators need to pay attention and do their jobs without these distractions to do what is best for North Dakota.

But what happened in the first place could be a sign of a lack of respect that has become more acceptable in these times.

Dr. Ann Burnett, a professor in the Communications Department at NDSU, says, "Being able to hashtag "Nazi" out there without saying it to someone's face, there's a lot less, I think, thought going into being civil."

Several, including Burnett, say although technology is quite useful, it is leading to much more disrespect for others.

"If you say something to somebody's face, and it is offensive, there's a lot more, I think, proclivity to think that was wrong and to apologize," says Burnett.

She says with the evolution of social media people seem to think they are anonymous. In this fast moving world, it is easy to spurt something out.

Burnett explains, "As you begin to accept more and more behaviors as being civil, people continue to push the envelope."

That, she argues, has led to more conflict and less understanding of each other. What could be worse is it is not likely to get any better, being a generational issue. That is unless more people stand up for what is right in future generations. 

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