'Stay Off of the Social Networks! Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and Blogs!'

Especially If You're A (Deranged) New York City Employee

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See the headline above? That is verbatim advice given by the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspector's Union to its members in a recent newsletter, according to the New York Post. Some good advice right there -- particularly given the Post's recent rampage through union members' social feeds.

The Post has been scouring social media for 'racists rants.'
The Post has been scouring social media for 'racists rants.'

If you pay attention to the Murdoch tabloid, you probably noticed that Twitter has made its cover three days out of the past week -- for all the wrong reasons. On March 18, in a story coverlined "SON BURN," the paper trumpeted the "Vile, racist rants of FDNY commish's EMT kid":

The first-responder son of city Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano has unleashed a sickening slew of tweets that target everyone from Jews to blacks to the poor.

Joseph Cassano, 23 -- who yesterday's Post revealed is working as an FDNY EMT in an apparent bid to fast-track his promotion to firefighter -- regularly uses the derogatory term "shwoog" when referring to black people, and once tweeted, "I like jews about as much as hitler."

The younger Cassano resigned the day the story ran.

Then yesterday's Post, headlined "S.O.B. STORY" ("EMT's a tear jerk when Post exposes Nazi tweets"), showed a crying Timothy Dluhos. The story inside began:

He's a bigot -- and a blubbering crybaby. EMS Lt. Timothy Dluhos, 34, uses an image of Hitler for his profile photo and "Bad Lieutenant" as his online name as he spews a barrage of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments [on Twitter]... Dluhos, who works at EMS Station 57 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, dropped to the ground sobbing Friday when The Post confronted him outside his Staten Island home..."My life is ruined. Oh, my God," Dluhos wailed. "I'm so sorry."

The uniquely photogenic -- in a tabloid sort of way -- Uncle Fester-like Dluhos makes a repeat appearance on today's New York Post cover, which is headlined "TWEET JUSTICE" ("Sobbing EMT suspended for vile rants").

Dluhos' career-suicide-by-Twitter tale has made international news, getting pick-up from even Murdoch competitor the Daily Mail, in Britain, which ran a story titled "FDNY lieutenant breaks down on the street when he is confronted about 'racist tweets' that called mayor 'King Heeb' and used ethnic slurs." (Among the more than 200 comments from readers: "So its true, Americans do cry like little girls.")

The Post further reports today:

After Dluhos was exposed in Sunday's Post, firefighters and medics began removing posts or using privacy settings to avoid the eyes of the media and FDNY bosses, sources said. "The FDNY is moving to get as many firefighters and EMS members who they deem as offensive off line as quickly as possible," a retired EMS veteran said... The FDNY said it didn't plan on hindering free speech but would take any action it could to thwart the inappropriate use of social-media platforms.

Good luck with that.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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