In just 72 characters, CNN managed yet again to offend quite a few of its 11 million Twitter followers.
The tweet in question read: "What state has highest rate of rape in the country? It may surprise you."
The backlash was swift and harsh. The tweet was seen by many as a cheap and tasteless gimmick to pull readers into an otherwise somber story about rape in Alaska. (Via Twitter / @CNN)
It fell in the category of "downright embarrassing teasers," tweeted former NPR journalist Andy Carvin. (Via Twitter / @acarvin)
The CNN tweet was compared to the same type you might see from Upworthy — a site that relies on feel-good, you might say "click baiting," headlines for human interest stories.
Thing is, CNN has been called out before for using Upworthy-style tweets.
Less than two weeks ago, the network tweeted: "14-year-old girl stabbed her little sister 40 times, police say. The reason why will shock you."
Again, the tweet dealt with a terrible tragedy, and critics say it came off as totally tone deaf. Even CNN's own Brian Stelter was bothered by it.
"The headline shocked me for all the wrong reasons. I'm all for experimentation on social media, you know that, and I'm glad CNN's trying new things, but this one went too far."
Upworthy's editor thinks so too, telling ThinkProgress: "The casualness of that tweet makes it twice as appalling. It's not surprising that rape is so prevalent, it's disturbing and alarming that it's prevalent all over the country. A surprise is for birthdays. Not this."
CNN did respond to all the criticism, tweeting: "Thanks for feedback. It's genuinely surprising Alaska's rape rate is so high. The story deserves attention."