Is it OK to cut up on the MXNews twitter account?

Here’s what came over the MXNews Twitter feed Wednesday morning, July 14 — starting at 8 a.m. and ending at noon — courtesy of sometimes-serious Xpress news reporter Michael Muller. The Xpress staff are debating among themselves whether this sort of news-not has any business being fed out on Twitter under the MXNews banner. What do you think? Should we tell cut-ups to go tweet under their own name?

And we’re live in 3…2…

Hello? Let’s try that again, people.
And we’re live in 3…2….

WARNING: The following program may contain material inappropriate for some viewers who are just big old sticks in the mud.
It also may contain nudity.

…dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun…

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of LOCAL MATTERS. It’s July 14, 2010.

We’re coming at you live and in color from the historic Palladium Ballroom in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Looks like another warm day out there. Here’s our weatherman, Pete Fitzpatrick. Pete?

We are experiencing…nevermind

Let me do the weather. It’s 69° under clear skies this morning and the relative humidity is 94%. There’s a 20% chance of precipitation.

The heat will apparently stay with us for the next few days, with highs expected to reach 90° by the end of the week. Yikes!
Yikes is right, Veronica!

Well Sam, today is Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the famous French prison by the scum of Paris society.

Ze start of ze French Révolution! Vive la Révolution! Oui oui!

Let’s go to live now to Paris to get a little historical perspective on the French Revolution. Orson?

Thank you for that informative report, Orson. I wonder what those crazy Ashevilleans will have in store for today?

I don’t know, Veronica, but today in 1868, the tape measure was patented by Alvin J. Fellows. And today in 1891, the corkboard was patented.
Like no one would have thought of those things.

Today is the birthday of the brilliant British comedian Terry-Thomas. He would be 99 if we wasn’t dead.

Here he is in an old commercial for BP. Jolly good!

It’s also the birthday of folk singer Woody Guthrie, 38th president Gerald Ford, and former football star Rosey Grier. He’s 78.

And today, the Reverend Franklin Graham celebrates his 58th birthday.
A fun fact: our own Carl Mumpower is a childhood friend of Franklin Graham.

And now, to what passes around here for the news.

Today, the print edition of the Mountain Xpress hits the streets. They’re in those goofy purple boxes you see everywhere around town.

If you’re too lazy to leave your house and pick one up, it’s available in a handy-dandy electronic version here:

And if you’re so lazy that you can’t even be bothered to do that, don’t worry your pretty little heads!
We’ll just give it all to you right here. No bothersome page turning or mouse clicking.

You can use your hands to smoke or drink coffee or whatever while we dance like an organ grinder monkey for your amusement.

Because here at Mountain Xpress and LOCAL MATTERS, we don’t just report on the future, we ARE the future!

Thank you for that, Veronica.

In our cover story this week, ilana Mignon and her husband Filet have a rare report on John Payne’s dinosaurs:

Senior reporter and tequila afficionado @DavidForbes reports the latest on the CTS mess:

Our own @JakeFrankel goes round & round with a dizzying report on the city’s latest multimodal efforts:

Looks like Tweetdeck is having some problems. But as ever, we shall soldier on!

We have a picture of Rachel Reeser and Steven Slack in their bathing suits here:
And @JakeFrankel has written something about Congressman Shuler and nuclear waste to go along with it:

What sort of name is Sandy Mush? Those people couldn’t have thought of anything else?

The radiant Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt reports on the annual Firefly Gathering: Give us air conditioning & teevee any day.
In fact, if Asheville had a beer and cigarette delivery service, we’d never leave our house.

Brent Martin’s Green Scene commentary this week talks about America’s Great Outdoors listening session:

Fashionista @alli_marshall has a report on the PUSH Asheville Fashion show:

And there is a hot picture of some chick in a bikini made of hip replacements.
Correction: the bikini was made BY Hip Replacements — a clothing store here in Asheville.

Our own food maven and prolific woman-about-town @mackensy tells you how it Yurts So Good. Oh baby!

The very hoppy @Bregasm talks beer:

The very hoppy @Brewgasm talks beer:

Sorry about that. We’ve had one too many already in lé celebracion of ze révolucion! fa fa fa!

Claudia Nix (that’s a cool name) tells motorists that they need to be more aware of cyclists:

We can probably infer from that they ought not to shoot bullets at them either.

Raymond Kinsey has a controversial letter about removing yard sale signs once the damn yard sales are over:

An 8-year old kid has a letter about BP and bike lanes: Go Gavin! Go Gavin!

Pisgah Legal Service’s own Robin Merrell has a piece on Asheville’s lack of affordable housing:

Storming the Bastille comes to mind for some reason.

Candler resident Noah Buchanan urges us to fight for our rights:

Wow, lots of radical stuf in this week’s Xpress. It’s all very exciting. Is it time for our morning nap yet?

Miles Britten profiles the band Clem Snide: Isn’t that a clever literary reference? Our brain isn’t what it used to be.

Multiple Personality Disorder patient @edgymama talks about teenage boys. At least that’s what we got out of it:

Speaking of Twilight, The Twilite Broadcasters are profiled by Justin Farrar:

Becky Upham (who are all these people?) has the line-up of upcoming shows in Asheville:

And if you’re poor but like to have a good time, @alli_marshall has this weekend on a shoestring:

Lucia Del Vecchio (that sounds delicious) reviews the show “Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath”

And the very plugged-in and cultured A&E staff talks crafts, feral chihuahuas, and other Smart Bets:

That @mackensy, who apparently does nothing but eat and type, has a profile on the most excellent @hopicecream:

And MX photog Jonathan Welch has an awesome picture of a Great Dane eating an ice cream cone.

And even more from @mackensy… some new eateries are springing up around town:

Ken Hanke reviews “Winters Bone” over at the Fine Arts:

Hanke also reviews “I Am Comic” which plays tonight at the Fine Arts:

It’s part of the “Laugh Your Asheville Off” comedy festival. For a complete line-up, check out their website:

Mr. Smartypants @DavidForbes stirs up controversy with a blogpost “Bele Chere: boon or burden?”

And our A&E editor, @rsulock, brings us the lineup for Moogfest:

The @CityofAsheville says that the water supply is good despite the dry weather, which is good because we like to take really long showers.

And that brings us to the top of the hour. Time to change the bandages on the bleeding nubs that are our fingers. We’ll be back shortly.

Please enjoy the following video from the 1980’s, the decade when we misspent our youth:

…dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun…

.…dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun…

And we’re back with teh Wednesday edition of LOCAL MATTERS, Mountain Xpress’s mid-week roundup of the news

In our third hour, we’ll be combing through the Twitter to find useful & interesting things to retweet as we’ve run out of original content

So if you have an event or some news, please hashtag it with #localmatters and we just might retweet it

This is the interactive part of our show. True to our mission, we treat our readers as participants in an ongoing civic dialogue.
That is, when we aren’t making fun of them back at the office. Keep those advertising dollars coming!

Summerville, SC considers ban on illegal immigrants: RT @AshevilleNCNews
A resolution that would have renamed the town “Mumpowerville” failed after white, English-speaking people were unable to spell it.

It looks like the big party @bouchonaville tonight in celebration of Bastille Day is sold out.
When asked what they would do if the hungry scum of Asheville stormed their gates, the proprietors curtly responded “Let them eat cake!”

The folks over @WNCAP are seeking signature artist donations for their “Raise Your Hand” Auction. Submit by 7/15.
Of course, they’ll always take cash. Cash always works. Cash. I’m an excellent driver.

The folks at @MtnBizWorks report that extile artist Sondra Dorn will be in booth 314 at the Carft Show this weekend.
Correction: Sandra Dorn is not an “ex-tile” artist, but a textile artist. Whatever that means.

The Chamber just finished their new member orientation for July, reports @avlbizvoice
If you’re considering becoming a member, you should know that they usually have an excellent donut and pastry spread

We are taking this opportunity to remind you that you live in Asheville & it is awesome. Now take a deep breath & move along. @josephexists

The @WNCMensa has Team Trivia tonite at 18:30 at Mellow Mushroom RT @AshevillePlaces For you stupid people, that’s 6:30

The lovely @UliMana reports that today is Peppermint Truffle kind of day. This isn’t news, but it sure sounds yummy.

Pianoforte tickets for Douglas Weeks’s concert this Sunday are going fast, rports RT @AshevilleArt: Call 828.253.3227

The Buncombe County Women’s Club Dinner is this Thursday at the Governors Western Residence reports @BuncombeDems

Unlike the Buncombe County Republican Women’s Club Dinner, the Democrats will not feature an early-bird special.

Registration for the fall hockey season will be opening soon. Yes, people we have a hockey team. RT @ashevillehockey

It looks like the @bmccall17 has changed his avatar yet again & will be Tweeting TEDGlobal, whatever that means. We just like the avatar.

Pubic Service Announcemnt: we encourage you to get spayed or neutered or, if you’re up for it,  both. Follow @ashevillehumane @BrotherWolfAR

The effervescent @stacey_C_ urges readers to join this group to bring the hilarious @PFTompkins to Asheville!

We are shocked at the number of dirty DMs we are receiving this morning from readers on teh Twitter

Those wacky jokesters over @ashevillecomedy have photos from last night’s @AshevilleComedy Festival

The normally mindful @MindfulKitchen says that Buncombe Free wifi sucks. Where ya been, honey? It hasn’t worked in over a year.

@typeamom, who manages to somehow actualy make money Twittering, wants some money from you:

RT @mxcalendar: Dudes & Divas Summer Social 7/15 @Diamond Brand in Arden. Fundraiser for RiverLink. #avlcal

Asheville’s @bryan_robbins observes that all of #TLC’s shows are either about little people, cakes, or little people who make cakes…
We have a thing for midgets. And for cakes. But not midget cakes.

Transformus is this weekend. Its former name, PsilocybinFest, was changed so it wouldn’t be mistaken for a gathering of drugged-out hippies.

Rafe Hollister Band is playing Saturday night with The Unholy Trio at The Watershed Black Mountain RT @rafe_hollister

Read about @tupelohoneycafe plans to help our Children’s Organic Garden thrive: RT @ywcaofavl

What’s that? I’m getting something here from the folks in the control booth.

Yes. Yes. Okay. Right-O. Very good. Okay, yes. Really? I’ll have one of those Cheerwne-filled donuts. Thanks. Yes. Right. Will do.



And we’re back.

The weather outside is quite nice. Very non-offensive.

It’s 11:55 — which means it almost Noon. Not morning, not afternoon. Really, it’s perhaps the most agreeable hour of the day.

We’d like to thank you for joining us for LOCAL MATTERS, where it’s okay to make fun of Republicans…just not anyone else.

Join us this Saturday for LOCAL MATTERS beginning at 8:30. We’ll have a special guest on the show. That is, if we still have a job.

Have pleasant day. And beware of mi…

…dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun dundunt-alluntun…

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

81 thoughts on “Is it OK to cut up on the MXNews twitter account?

  1. Frinkazoid

    I rather enjoy every Wednesday and Saturday when he gets on the old twitter account…the only way I would be satisfied with him not doing it is if he went full time under another xpress affiliated banner. Viva La Muller!!!

  2. Rebecca Sulock

    @zensutherland says: I gotta say it can be entertaining, but click it down 2 notches. Just a little more thought out – real estate goes quick.

  3. Rebecca Sulock

    one more from @zensutherland: There are people who are perfectly interesting and wonderful that i don’t follow because they tweet too much and dilute the pool.

  4. Rebecca Sulock

    @SocialLifeAvl says: Keep it funky @fobes @rsulock @mxnews @michaelfmuller

  5. Rebecca Sulock

    From McRaeHilliard: I was an early admirer of @michaelfmuller…Wait, I mean @mxnews Saturday morning Smarty Pants Show @fobes #AVLsarcasm

  6. JWTJr

    At first I thought the headline read “Cut Up the Twitter Account”

    I was all for that.

  7. Sanuk D

    I look forward to the Saturday edition. It’s a bit much on Wednesdays. The occasional Muller tirade on a Tuesday afternoon does my heart good as well.

  8. JenniferSaylor

    I think Michael’s hilarious. But I want local news from a local news account.

  9. Becka

    Amusing news is good, but so many of the “tweets” don’t actually say anything.

  10. Geoff Fobes

    I think you people are taking the internet way too seriously.

  11. megan

    It’s HORRIBLE. I don’t need to see “dundundun” as a Tweet. What a waste of space. The worst part is that the MX Twitter is the best up-to-the-minute Asheville news updates. So I deal with the “dundundun” crap Tweets so that I can get the occasional cutting edge update. Make it stop!

  12. Jeff Fobes

    @tracyhyorth says: I like Muller’s show, and I think that dude can go syndicate. I think he needs a separate acct. He’s entertaining, but not giving news

  13. Jeff Fobes

    Another tweet from @McraeHilliard: I can’t handle it on Wed but it’s perfect for Saturday. Clean up the language. Consider a whole different MX account.

  14. Jeff Fobes

    @ukulelerockstar says: What if there was an mxshow handle? The # of followers it got would reflect how people really feel about Mr. Saucypants.

  15. Jeff Fobes

    More from @ukulelerockstar: I think @michaelfmuller’s @mxnews show tweets are hilarious and I really enjoy them, though last Saturday’s show did get sloppy

  16. Margaret Williams

    Oh goodness. Michael makes me laugh. The news can be so dry (especially when we’ve officially been declared “abnormally dry” by the N.C. Drought Monitor folks).

    I think we’ve got an #avlshow hashtag started, though it was a little hard to tell on Muller’s Saturday show as the Bloody Marys flowed …

    Tweets not saying anything?! Imagine that! (But OK, at first I didn’t know what the dundunit, dundunit was, when Muller first Tweeted such).

    But then, I’m not supposed to have an opinion. Nor, according to a NYTimes editor, are we supposed to use “Tweet” in verb form (no Tweeting, Tweeted, etc.) Perhaps we are taking the Internet too seriously.

  17. zen

    To be honest, @michaelfmuller is entertaining because it’s sloppy and fun. It’s not for me because i want just the news, but you know there could be be two NEWS accounts (MXNews and MXNewsShow) using Tweetdeck or some other means to put both out there at the same time, the MXNewsShow putting out the whole banter thing and where Michael is just gonna give a news item (not a snarky comment) he can tweet as both.

    Nobody will follow both because both would double up the news portion.

    As an example:

    (MXNews and MXNewsShow)
    Registration for the fall hockey season will be opening soon. Yes, people we have a hockey team. RT @ashevillehockey

    (MXNewsShow only)
    It looks like the @bmccall17 has changed his avatar yet again & will be Tweeting TEDGlobal, whatever that means. We just like the avatar.

    (MXNews and MXNewsShow)
    Pubic Service Announcemnt: we encourage you to get spayed or neutered or, if you’re up for it, both. Follow @ashevillehumane @BrotherWolfAR

    (MXNews and MXNewsShow)
    The effervescent @stacey_C_ urges readers to join this group to bring the hilarious @PFTompkins to Asheville!

    (MXNewsShow only)
    We are shocked at the number of dirty DMs we are receiving this morning from readers on teh Twitter

    That way, the LISTENER decides whether s/he wants to hear the humor/snark and it only requires Michael to be able to identify when he’s giving news and when he’s being funny. Is he up for the challenge???

    He’s a smart feller (or is that fart smeller?) he can do it!

  18. zen

    Well, my formatting didn’t work. I hope you can make sense of the above. In any case people use TweetDeck and similar applications to double-up tweets all the time.

  19. Jeff

    Blah blah blah twitter blah blah.

    Something like 99% of the population is blissfully unaware of what’s going on on twitter. If they got a glimpse of this little slice of the twitter life, I think they’d feel that much more blissful and go on about their lives with a smug grin.

  20. Margaret Williams

    Thanks, Zen: A separate “show” moniker has been our topic du jour as a solution. Muller’s up for the challenge!

  21. I’ll take #michaelfmuller just as he is, thank you very much. He is what the MX ought to be.

  22. I think it is fine. Most people don’t get twitter anyway. That’s their loss.

    It could be worse…MX could have made their account private and tweet with hashtags to a very limited audience. LOL

    I would suggest keeping the official news account PG-13ish.

  23. Jan

    I stopped following them as of yesterday because of all the garbage they were posting. I couldn’t take it. It was too much to have to sift through.

  24. Jeff Fobes

    From Gordon Smith via Twitter: @michaelfmuller is our guilty pleasure. He’s the id in ideosyncratic. He’s imperfect &honest; &embarrassing; &lovable;.

  25. Jeff Fobes

    Jason Sandford weighs in on his Ashvegas blog at

    Some excerpts:
    “Xpress, do you really have to ask? It’s clearly inappropriate. The @mxnews feed was set up specifically for news, and other feeds have been created for other content. For example, there’s @mxeat for food news, etc. If Xpress wants a comedy show, Xpress should set up @mxcomedy, or whatever they want to call their virtual slap-and-ticklefest.

    “By mixing banal sexual innuendo and adolescent insults in with its news feed, Xpress is slowly and surely killing its credibility as a news outlet. …

    “Xpressers killing time with smart-assed Twitter retorts are also likely to simply miss the news they’re supposed to be trafficking in. They’re not doing their jobs. Wouldn’t all that time be better spend creating original content, or doing some actual reporting that makes a difference in the community?”

  26. tatuaje

    I love Michael’s #avlshow.

    It’s hilarious.

    Even funnier?

    Over-the-hill bloggers going through mid-life-crisis and flexing on their ‘frontpage’ and calling it news.

    And asking their readers to do their work for them.

    Keep up the great work Michael!

  27. firelady

    I like the show- kind of the twitter version of the SNL news program. I think the new handle is a fine way to deal with the situation. Seems like it would appease the News purists and those who appreciate Muller’s unique perspective and delivery.

  28. mike clair

    i do think that meaningless, sarcastic, and self indulgent shenanigans always have a place in this world. but not just along side info that is halfway informative and helpful. i personally get nothing from these hit and miss and miss one liners, but others seem to enjoy it. a separate account for this saucy lad may please both worlds and give people an option if they want to read this sort of stuff.

  29. Angela

    I look forward to Michael tweeting the news. He brings an element of fun to what could be an otherwise boring morning. If I wanted boring news I would wait for someone at WLOS to start tweeting more often.

  30. Lindsey

    Despite his reporting style, Michael does occasionally provide us with actual news. And I for one have met several people who started following @mxnews just for his shows. Those people didn’t give two craps about Asheville news before, and now they are the ones telling me updates about city government or bike lanes (and yes, sometimes about how hot @brewgasm is.) Sorry that the man says “shit” or drinks a bloody mary sometimes, but he might just be the reason more people are paying attention to their local news, or picking up a Mountain Express for that matter.
    We are lucky to have him in the mix of more “serious” reporting.

  31. shadmarsh

    Jason Sandford weighs in on his Ashvegas blog at
    Some excerpts:
    “Xpress, do you really have to ask? It’s clearly inappropriate. The @mxnews feed was set up specifically for news, and other feeds have been created for other content. For example, there’s @mxeat for food news, etc. If Xpress wants a comedy show, Xpress should set up @mxcomedy, or whatever they want to call their virtual slap-and-ticklefest.
    “By mixing banal sexual innuendo and adolescent insults in with its news feed, Xpress is slowly and surely killing its credibility as a news outlet. …
    “Xpressers killing time with smart-assed Twitter retorts are also likely to simply miss the news they’re supposed to be trafficking in. They’re not doing their jobs. Wouldn’t all that time be better spend creating original content, or doing some actual reporting that makes a difference in the community?”

    Uhhh…does this dude even read his own blog? Or is he trying to convince us that the ACT is an actual newspaper? also, what Tat said…

    I love Michaels twitter feed. It is for smart people who don’t take themselves too seriously, and it is also informative. Twitter is about interaction, and personality, not bland ineffectual drivel and manufactured seriousness.

  32. maggie1

    @michaelfmuller is the best of Mountain Express!We all know that.

  33. maggie1

    Hey dudes and shes- the good tweets wouldn’t be any good with out the bad.

  34. Joseph Barcia

    I think Michael Muller’s tweets are entertaining, as does the apparent consensus. Mountain Xpress should at least keep Muller tweeting non-news through a new Twitter handle.

    We should remember when we use Twitter to represent a business it isn’t always topical and is more about a conversation, and that goal clearly is fulfilled. However, if the particular goal of the @MXNews handle is only to provide news and not dialogue with people about anything but news, two handles will do.

  35. Greg

    Don’t slow Michael down… he provides us all so much laughter. I really am indifferent to whether or not it’s posted on mxnews or another account, I just hope it continutes…

  36. edriddle

    Mike is the reason I subscribe to the @mxnews feed. It’s BECAUSE of his reporting style… I love it! Mountain Xpress isn’t the Asheville Citizen-Times, it isn’t WLOS, it doesn’t HAVE to be stick-in-the-mud serious.

    Mike mixes humor in with the news and makes reading the news from the feed fun, it makes the @mxnews followers feel involved! He is the reason that the Mountain Xpress is the MOUNTAIN XPRESS! It’s different, it’s provocative, it’s off-the-wall, it says things that other news sources wont, it’s Asheville!

    And for the people that don’t like it? Twitter makes it super easy to unfollow or even block anyone… so why is this even an issue?

  37. Mackensy Lunsford

    @sthrnfrydpinko says:

    I don’t care what they say. I feel like the folks @mxnews are my neighbors and fellow members of the community I love.

    Rather than being some sequestered news monks, they get out and enjoy the community and share it with all of us, and I love that.

    Clearly @mxnews is not an aging, out-of-touch organization like some other papers I know of, so I say keep on doing what you’re doing!

  38. Mackensy Lunsford

    @edriddle says:

    @michaelfmuller Mike the reason I subscribe to @mxnews is BECAUSE of your off the wall reporting style… Love it!

  39. I’m quick to unfollow people when they tweet too much, but I look forward to Muller’s @mxnews tweets. They’re a good blend of fun and informative, particularly when many other news outlets are so heavy-handed with their tweets. Plus Muller shows that he actually reads other people’s feeds by retweeting things that may be of interest to followers, fostering the sense of community that Twitter is all about.

    BTW, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I want an .mp3 of the dun-duns.

  40. Josh Benson

    If people don’t like it they can unfollow. If you suddenly find yourselves with 2 followers tomorrow, then it may be time to adjust, but this is nothing new and there are still almost 2,000 followers as of this posting.

    That being said, there’s only 2,000 followers, which I can only assume is a miniscule fraction of MountainX’s actual circulation, which would tend to make me think even if Michael and others disgorged intimate and graphic details of their sex lives while on crack cocaine, it would have little if any impact on the paper itself, and certainly wouldn’t tarnish your reputation for excellent reporting. One of my favorite things about MountainX is that the staff is completely unabashed and unafraid to say things and talk about subjects that are ignored or even deliberately avoided by other news outlets and the community in general. Michael is a shining example of that approach, but certainly by no means the only staff member at MountainX to exhibit it.

    Personally I think Michael’s tweets add a lot of local color to the feed, and I often find myself loling. Everyone has the option to unfollow if they want, and if they really want plain ol’ news there are lots of other individuals and news organizations they can follow on Twitter that provide just that. MountainX is unique and defiantly local, and should stay that way.

    No censoring (or censuring) please!

  41. Sanuk D

    One news reporter and commenter questions the journalistic credibility of another purveyor of news. The latter, in response, tells the former to engage in auto-eroticism. Backed by a full gospel choir. Are we talking about Jason Sandford and Michael Muller? Nope, but we could well be.

    I’ve got heaps more respect for Jason Sandford than I do for Bernie Goldberg, and I don’t think Michael Muller is as funny as John Stewart. I do think that there is a rough equivalence when it comes to the spectrum of news offerings that are emerging in old Altamont. Sandford is dragging Western North Carolina’s paper of record into a more social and digital age. That’s great. I read the Citizen-Times website more because he’s there. I wish he would tweet more, and I’ve been glad to see him posting on Ashvegas more in the last little bit.

    If John Boyle were tweeting as the Citizen-Times in the way Muller does for Mountain X, I am sure I would not want to follow him. Come to think of it, he might. I don’t follow the Citizen-Times. I do follow the Mountain Xpress feed. One of the reasons I follow it is to catch the Saturday morning show. Because of that experiment and the daily informative but fun style of tweets, I am more interested in reading the actual physical paper. This is all still an experiment for all of us, but I think the variety of journalistic styles is an asset to our community. And I still respect Jeff Fobes in the morning. Now if he could just get David Forbes on the nerd glasses thing…

    (I’m fixin’ to post this on Ashvegas too, by the way.)

  42. Edgy Mama

    From Josh on Ashvegas’ blog:

    It’s fine with me. MountainX’s reporting stands on its own merits, and if some inebriated banter on Twitter (which the majority of MountainX’s readers probably don’t follow anyway) is enough to discredit all the excellent news they cover in some people’s eyes, then I think those people need to adjust their priorities. If you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to follow it. You can still pickup the paper and read all the sex/cuss/alcohol-free news stories inside without having your delicate sensibilities damaged. I don’t think the tweets in question have any bearing on the quality of news the paper provides, and if anything it reinforces that these people are human beings and members of our community like the rest of us, rather than being dry, humorless drones like you’ll find at every other paper.

  43. It’s Twitter, for goodness sake.

    I’m often surprised by what creates controversy, but I bet humorous and off-beat tweeting engages people more often than not.

    Has anyone tracked the changes (+ amd -) in the MXNews followers since Michael started the show regularly?

  44. Ursula

    I love him for reminding me that I have way more interesting things to do with my time than be on Twitter.

  45. getrealvonciel

    I think he deserves a raise, a nice office, a personal assistant and spellcheck.

    For those who prefer news without snark, my advice is a) don’t watch FoxNews and b) follow one of the other local news Twitter accounts, one of which tweeted yesterday, “Canton woman arrested for meth possession”. I was surprised that the next headline from this source wasn’t “Downtown Asheville businesses complain about panhandlers” or “Blue Ridge Parkway beautiful”.

    I find all of Michael’s tweets, even the “dundunt” etc. ones far more informative and amusing.

    As @edgymama says, “It’s Twitter, for goodness sake.”

  46. barbie angell

    i have just finished reading mr. fobes article, mr. muller’s posts & all of the comments listed. i also started following mxnews because of mr. muller. i do not follow the citizen-times or any other local newspaper.

    i enjoy mr. muller’s tweets exactly as they are. i think he should be commended for his ability to be so quick-witted and entertaining. as someone who has been onstage trying to improvise for an audience, i can assure you that it isn’t easy. sure, maybe every single tweet out of his computer isn’t gold-plated and razor sharp….but i have yet to see anyone else do it better.

    mr. muller is a one-man improvisational show. he is the asheville twitter community’s version of adrian cronauer. (for those of you playing at home, mr. craonauer was an air force radio announcer in vietnam. his style also brought retribution from critics and later his story was brought to life in the movie “good morning vietnam”.)

    as a reader of mxnews, i suppose that my opinion counts. mr. muller should not have to change one single thing in his show. i believe he has earned the respect of his community and his place as asheville’s leading satirist. that all being said, the one thing that i did not see mentioned is that mr. muller does have a serious side. he is ready and able to have thoughtful and intelligent discussions on virtually any topic. i have witnessed his conversations online and i was impressed with his knowledge and willingness to listen to an opposing viewpoint.

    mountain xpress team, you have a real asset in michael muller. i certainly wouldn’t want the rest of the staff to all try to become him, but i would be quite disappointed to lose his humor and candor in my day.

  47. me

    if you don’t like it megan, then don’t follow. viva la tweets michael!!! i love it. getrealvonciel – i agree!!! :-)

  48. Jeff Fobes

    From JayneQPublic on Twitter:
    …how [do] folks like @michaelfmuller tweeting for @mxnews? I <3 the morning news! Keep it coming!

  49. maggie1

    following Michael is the only interesting thing I have to do with my time.

  50. Margaret Williams

    To quote Mr. Muller, we are having technical difficulties with our paragraph formatting for comments! Our apologies for any twinges this is causing to the eyes.

  51. Jeff Fobes

    To make sure we get the full story, consider the less adulatory comments over on Ashvegas’ post (excerpted above).

    One says MX likes to smell its own farts; two say the sheer volume of nonsense on MXNews forced them to quit following it; one is annoyed; another worries that MX credibility is on the line — and three of them either like Muller’s gonzo news and views or don’t have a problem with it.

  52. Jake the Snake

    Wait for Michael Muller to start one of his “funny” morning diarrhea twitter storms, then start refreshing the @mxnews twitter homepage..

    You can literally watch followers drop off until it ends (usually with some drunken nonsense).

    Its an embarrassment and it surprises me to see the staff of Mountain Xpress letting it continue, considering how they’ve intelligently embraced tools like Twitter recently.

    The Mountain Xpress already has a funny twitter feed, its the Asheville Disclaimer.

  53. Definitely interesting, Jeff.

    I wonder if how much of a readership difference there is between this site and Ashvegas’ site?

    I read both regularly, as I imagine do many, but I wonder if that site might attract a slightly difference demographic?

  54. zen

    I still say the easy answer is for Michael to single-tweet humor and double-tweet snark. After all, we have the technology and it’s only twitter and like they used to say [i]”it’s only the internet.”[/i]

  55. zen

    i meant: [i]single tweet [b]humor[/b] and double-tweet [b]news[/b][/i][br]

  56. getrealvonciel

    As an elderly recluse, I am not always up to snuff on all things, so I just want to clarify:

    Doesn’t Ashvegas draw a paycheck from the C-T?

    Is the @mxnews Twitter feed always run on the on-line version of MX as last Saturday’s was? My humble opinion is that perhaps that’s not necessary. Twitter seems to me to be a more ephemeral outlet, Library of Congress records notwithstanding.

    As for credibility, bish pls. He’s tweeting about our little town, not what’s happening on the gulf or in Afghanistan.

    As many above said, unfollow is an option for those who find the Tweets not to their liking.

  57. Erika Franzi

    Talk about much ado about nothing.

    MX has nothing to gain and much to lose by muzzling Muller. Like many others, I started following @mxnews simply because MM is so damn funny. And I click his links to read the Mountain Xpress too. Believe me, those who are complaining will not make up the loss of those who love the Twitter feed. They care enough to come here and bitch, but they probably won’t start following mxnews if it goes a stuffy and serious. On the other hand, those who love it will quickly find the Unfollow button if an AC-T style newsfeed hits their tweetfeed. Michael is a breath of fresh air. And he is something MX has that no one else does. He gives the MX an edge, in more ways than one.

  58. Leigh

    Muller’s brand of crazy-ass Gonzoesque humor undoubtedly offends some people, or its not the brand of humor to which they personally subscribe. You can’t please everyone. Although Muller stretches thin the limits of appropriateness, what’s important is that it doesn’t translate to the full pieces Muller writes. His actual reporting is quality and adheres to journalistic standards.

    But if MX is losing readers as a result of this fracas and it’s a concern, I suggest (as others have) splitting the feeds or limiting the news-ish rampage to Saturday mornings. Don’t promote – let those who want to see it, find it, and don’t force it down the throats of those who just want their news, damnit.

    Personally, I feel the Wednesdays ARE a bit much. I look forward to the Saturday morning Tweet-fest. It’s a good start to the weekend.

  59. Corley

    If the dundunts go, I go! I love his tweets — it’s nice to know I can expect to snort into my coffee with laughter at least a few times before his time at the news desk is up on Saturday. Keep on keepin’ on, Michael! I think you’re peachy.

  60. shadmarsh

    This smells kinda like a publicity stunt by jealous ACT reporters who lack the creativity and wit of Mr. Muller, and instead of trying to find a creative solution to their lack of creativity have decided to throw a temper tantrum.

    Aren’t we always celebrating the uniqueness of Asheville? Why try and quash one of its genuine original voices?

  61. Kara Lane

    The tweets above weren’t quite as bad as the one’s Ashvegas posted on

    I personally feel like the tweets reposted by Ashvegas are out-of-line: numerous tweets about sex with underage boys, drinking excessive amounts of beer, buying alcohol for the underage, and other sex-laced tweets. Most, normal, business situations an employee would either be fired or severely reprimanded for making such comments on a work-related forum. It doesn’t give the tweeters or company a good reputation. Would you want your boss reading the company’s twitter feed accusing you of hanging out at the Citi-stop to buy underage kids alcohol (with the inferred result of having sex with them)?

    In the age of managing your online reputation, what do these tweeters think is in their online reputation now? When someone finds your tweet log of these comments, do you think they are automatically going to think it was satire. Do you think a prospective employer is going to be okay with this type of tweeting on behalf of the company? Maybe, maybe not. Remember, what you post on the net isn’t gone forever. Beyond internet search engines, tweets are now being catalog by the Library of Congress.

    One day you might not find it so funny that people tweeted those things about you and that you tweeted the same crap in return. Your actions and word do have consequences even if you can’t see any negative ones now. I see this group of tweeters from this as immature, party all the time, and not concerned with the reputation of the company that supplies them the means to be immature and irresponsible.

  62. Karen

    According to Reporters Without Borders, so far in 2010 18 Journalists have been killed, 1 Media Assistant has been killed, 162 Journalists are imprisoned, 9 Media Assistants are imprisoned and 111 Netizens are imprisoned.

    I just wanted to bring attention to those willing to put themselves on the line for Free Speech.

    I happen to enjoy Mike’s rapier wit and find his banter refreshing. I’ll follow him wherever he Tweets. I find myself telling friends who use Twitter they should follow Mike @mxnews. More importantly for MX, I associate Mike with MX and find myself appreciating MX for my daily dose of Mike via #mxnews.

    I also respect the right of an employer to choose its image and shape that image via its employees.

    Does MX want the rep of succumbing to the fear-mongers and their minions? Or, does it want to be known for growing a pair and grooming the potential they have in someone like Mike?

  63. shadmarsh

    When someone finds your tweet log of these comments, do you think they are automatically going to think it was satire
    One would hope so, as it would be obvious from the context in which they originated. If someone lacks basic critical reading skills, that is not the fault of the author, that is the fault of the reader.

    I see this group of tweeters from this as immature, party all the time, and not concerned with the reputation of the company that supplies them the means to be immature and irresponsible.
    It would appear that you see what you want to see.

    Do you think a prospective employer is going to be okay with this type of tweeting on behalf of the company?
    Why do you care about someone else prospective employer?

  64. Kara Lane

    @shadmarsh PhD. (1) Another interpretation of the tweets is not satire but a derogatory comment made towards someone not intended to be humorous but intended to damage the reputation of another. (2) Yes that is what I see or feel when I read those tweets. I don’t laugh and say, wow that was crazy funny. (3) Asking the question doesn’t mean I care about someone else prospective employer. The point was: The Mountain Xpress might be okay with these posts on its twitter feed, but another employer might not. I hardly think someone keeps the same job for the entirety of his or her career. And that is a consideration one should take before making these posts…can what I say now limit my potential in the future?

    Would you be okay having the President of the United States make these comments about another national representative? (far reaching comparison I know, but it shares the point of someone’s words representing the thoughts an mentality of a collective group even if it is not the true feelings of the entire collective.)

  65. I love Michael’s tweets; they crack me up. Come on, this is Asheville, it is not like we are all missing some kind of giant dread news of the dire because he’s tweeting dun. dun. . dun (which I adore & second Shad in requesting an .mp3.) while Godzilla is taking out the Civic Center or something.

    Oh and Kara?

  66. Kara Lane

    @fliss In regards to your link, I highly doubt the following free flow comments are great examples not diluting one’s every idea and creative impulse. I mean these comments are hardly creative at all.

    Copied from Avevegas’ blog:

    “@Brewgasm I hear that @mackensy is dating someone in high school. But I digress. Let’s talk about beer.”

    “So ladies, do you have a favorite beer in town? And have you ever hung around the Citi-Stop to buy beer for underage boys? #avlshow”

    “So @mackensy just pulled Mary Katherine Gallagher and smelled her fingers #avlshow”

    “@fobes An unqualified yes. We decide what is news based on who feeds us or gives us drinks. That’s the policy as I understand it. #avlshow”

    It is the kind of humor you would find in high-school where people are trying to get your goad by making fun of you. The jokes even lacked creativity. Maybe you guys know the people in these posts and find it funny because you personally know the people involved. I don’t know these people so it seems like childish humor. It isn’t even in the spirit I think of “shaking things up” or challenging something of importance, except in the respect it has generated so many comments.

    Hardly what I would call news worthy. News doesn’t have to be staunch and boring, yet it doesn’t have to be adolescent humor either. What in these posts, I ask you, is news–that someone at the Mountain Xpress is making fun of other people affiliated with the Mountain Xpress?

    Create a tweet feed called mxSomeName and let those posts be there…if you find it so enticingly funny, follow away. At least people concerned with news, cultural events, issues, and trends of Asheville won’t have to read about how someone is drinking copious amounts of beer and deciding on what the news of the day will be based on who is providing that beer.

  67. Kara Lane

    One last thought, a quote, and most likely the reason why Forbes started the inquiry.

    “Every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on.” Tony Burman, ex-editor-in-chief of CBC News.

    Does these tweets seem to uphold truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability? If not, it belongs somewhere else.

    Nuff said

  68. Cakalaksdunord

    Puritans beware! Sense of humor, wit, and fun are all contagious. He is raising MXpress above the AP fodder and making many of us smile.

  69. climberbird

    My question is this what does the Mountain Xpress value more over the other: journalism or entertainment. These two items hold very different standards. What is entertaining to some, may offend others or not be funny. What someone deems having high journalist qualities, others would deem boring or not of interest. Journalism doesn’t have to lack entertainment, humor, or the such; however, it does hold itself up to a different set of standards by which the posts from Ashevegas by a couple responders here clearly doesn’t seem to meet. Don’t understand the responsibilities of those reporting news… Check out this link:

    It requires maturity, conscientiousness, care, and hopes its merit of “entertainment” lies there within.

  70. zen

    Personally, i’d like to commend Mx for looking to Twitter, humor, facebook and other creative means to stay viable in a world where many of us prefer our news commentary from The Comedy Channel.

    People who want to squelch this kind of behavior may not be looking at the larger picture for what news in the future may be and cannot see that the traditional business model for news media is failing.

    Keep on pressing the limits and treading the waters of community rather than accept the way news has been presented in the past.

  71. I have to say that this whole thread changed my mind. When I first opened it I felt that maybe there should be two accounts – one for “serious” news and one for whatever, but after reading all the way through this I think let Michael Muller reign and tweet whatever the hell he feels like on any account. And more power to him and to the Mountain X for letting it happen.

    Look, the Mountain Xpress is a weekly paper. Not a daily, a weekly. This whole idea that they should suddenly be covering every minute of breaking news is not what they’re designed to do. We have a daily paper. I grant you, it is an unusually horrible one, but still, it exists. The Citizen-Times is supposed to be the Asheville Paper of Record. (Yeah, gods help us, but that’s another whole topic.) They handle the humorless Gannett approved business of actual news and verbatim press releases. Their twitter feed, which I do not follow, because I am allergic to humorless news for the most part, is or should be the way to find out that there is important breaking news going on.

    Let’s not forget that the Mountain X is, or is popularly supposed to be, the alternative paper, with all the authority defying baggage that goes along with that. This is the paper that was designed to challenge the status quo, not extend it eternally into zombie half life. Demanding that it follow rigorous and probably antiquated old media standards robs it of what it was ever and is still supposed to be.

    Here’s the other thing: Twitter is not an ideal medium for in depth coverage. It’s good for telling you where there’s a traffic jam and that Godzilla is eating the civic center, but if you want more details, Twitter isn’t going to be the place to find them. The problem many people seem to have here is that Michael Muller’s tweets are not to be taken seriously. Oh, the horror! This is Twitter. It is by its very nature ephemeral, fleeting and often foolish. It isn’t serious and that, like Michael, is okay and, actually, often brilliant.

  72. Do you think we could entice Godzilla to eat the Civic Center?

    That’s the best idea I’ve heard in years, fliss.

  73. Cheshire

    It’d be great if there was a separate channel on Twitter for the non-news mucking about. I finally got into Twitter for the quick news updates, etc. I dropped the mxnews channel within a week for the overload. Two channels would be perfect: you want just the news, pick up just one channel. You want the full effect, pick up both. Problem solved.

    I was pretty bummed when I stopped following: the news (when it was there) was great…but the flood of whatever the rest was reminded me of the older “ping-floods” that used to crash servers in the internet’s younger years.

  74. I say Free Muller! and let the small minded busy body control freaks follow the bland, dry, musty and dead AC-T news tweets that are probably RSS or bot-driven anyway.

    Good Grief!

    It’s twitter.

    Just take small sips from the data firehouse every so often or use filters to focus on particular information streams that interest you.

    I follow over 3,700 people and am followed by over 3,300. I don’t agree with everyone I follow, and a number of them post offensive tweets. That is their choice…their right. I don’t even try to read every tweet. Instead, I follow interesting people and divide them up into lists of the most interesting and do keyword searches or rely on hashtags if I want to find out what people are saying about a particular event, geographical region or issue that interests me.

  75. To make sure we get the replete lie, deliberate the inferior adulatory comments over on Ashvegas’ berth (excerpted above).

    One says MX likes to aroma its own farts; two say the pure volume of nonmeaningful on MXNews affected them to resign shadowing it; one is pissed; other worries that MX credibility is on the line-and iii of them either suchlike Muller’s gonzo program and views or don’t have a problem with it.

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