New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush is leaving social media behind. The White House correspondent is deleting his Twitter account at midnight tonight—he ironically made the announcement on Twitter.
Thrush said the site had become “too much of a distraction.” He decided to leave his account open for 12 hours rather than deleting it without warning so that followers could message him directly for contact information.
Thrush’s followers had mixed reactions to the news. Some thought it was foolish, while others saw it as a necessary move for his mental health.
“You’re a journalist. This is unwise,” journalist Molly Knight wrote.
“Or is it the most wise thing he can do as a journalist? As a human who wants to be sane?” countered journalist Tony Baranowski.
Tech-minded Twitter users pointed out that Thrush’s decision to fully delete his account rather than mute it was risky from a security standpoint. Engineer Michael Toecker wrote that hackers could buy the @GlennThrush handle to impersonate the journalist.
“If someone picks up your old handle, they can spread misinformation & read future DMs,” journalist and speechwriter Dan Lavoie added. (In light of this, Thrush later clarified that his account would simply become “dormant” rather than be deleted entirely.)
Thrush is admittedly a busy man—outside of his White House work, he and Times colleague Maggie Haberman are writing a book about the first years of the Trump administration for Random House.
But his social media exodus likely won’t stop him from continuing to be an object of ridicule on Saturday Night Live. Bobby Moynihan portrayed Thrush going head to head with then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy) last season.
McCarthy-as-Spicer yelled “Everybody hates Glenn” whenever the beleaguered reporter asked a question, and, when the new season premieres, whichever cast member portrays current press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will likely do something similar.
It remains to be seen whether Thrush’s Twitter exodus is just a momentary publicity stunt, or whether he’s serious about the move. But social media critics will no doubt discuss his stories whether he’s there to read the comments or not.