Benefit of the doubt

With a medium as susceptible to miscommunication as Twitter, aren’t we under some obligation to give authors some measure of benefit of the doubt?

I can’t help but feel as though it takes willful cynicism to read the phrasing of the following tweet as conveying triumph about the end of racism. In instances such as this, for which meaning can just as permissibly be read in the past tense as in the present, I hope readers would extend me the courtesy of, to borrow from Wikipedia, “a favorable judgment in the absence of full evidence” about my intentions. The process — ending racism — needn’t have been completed for Parks’ contribution to warrant remembrance.

Yes, the author has re-written the tweet, as is appropriate when meaning can be easily clarified. But the original wording is hardly grounds for the imbroglio it precipitated. If you’re looking for racism in Republican rhetoric, there’s no need to resort to equivocal tweets like this.