Early Wednesday afternoon, the Twitter account of Ebony magazine raised an alarm about a distressing new campaign targeting the magazine:

The remark referred to a swirl of unsubstantiated rumors, mostly on Twitter, that a group of Tea Party members had vowed to boycott Ebony for its decision to feature people wearing hoodies on four different editions of its September issue — a response to the July acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. Which is mildly amusing inasmuch as a mass exodus of Ebony's Tea Party audience is unlikely to substantially affect the magazine's bottom line. Sadly, it was immediately clear that no discernible group of Tea Partiers had actually vowed to join the notional boycott. So where did these rumors come from?

The first mention of any proposed boycott of Ebony (limited to today) appeared in a single comment on Breitbart.com. A few hours later, this was passed off with complete credulity by U.S. News & World Report. But the very first mention of some sort of organized boycott appeared on the Twitter account of a Tom Head, a freelance writer living in Jackson, Mississippi:

When asked, Head refused to explain where he saw these "Tea Party lynching apologists" (note: plural) threatening to boycott Ebony.

So. A few lessons:


2) Twitter is terrible. (Follow me on Twitter.)

[Photo via Ebony]