Des Moines Register explains how it found Carson King's tweets from 2012

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Published: Sep. 25, 2019 at 6:08 AM CDT
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The Des Moines Register is detailing how it came to find tweets that prompted Anheuser-Busch to cut ties with Carson King over offensive posts reportedly found on social media.

King is the Iowa State fan who inadvertently started a fundraiser for the University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital. He gained national attention when he showed a sign asking for beer money on ESPN ahead of the Cy-Hawk football game in Ames on Sept. 13. King announced he would give the money to the children's hospital.

Anheuser-Busch and Venmo offered to match whatever King raised.

On Tuesday, the Register found some offensive social media posts King posted eight years ago. King apologized in a press conference.

A statement from our editor:

Posted by The Des Moines Register on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Following King's story, Anheuser-Busch announced it would cut ties with King.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the paper's executive editor said one of its reporters, assigned to do a profile on King, found the posts while doing a 'routine background check' that included a review of publicly visible social media posts.

During the search, the Register said its reporter found two offensive tweets King posted in 2012. King said he apologized for the tweets when the reporter questioned him.

The Register said a discussion between several editors followed.

"Should that material be included in the profile at all? The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts. Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so?" the Register said.

Editors also considered the fact that the tweets were posted seven years ago, and King did express his regrets.

"Should we chalk up the posts to a youthful mistake and omit the information?"

Editors decided to include the posts in its reporting in order to be transparent.

In a Facebook post, King said it was his decision to address the posts.

"The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do," he said in the post.

King's fans came to his defense on social media. Many said this is a learning opporunity to be cautious of what's posted on social media, but they feel King's comments from that long ago should not be used against him.

King still plans to attend the Iowa football game on Saturday and wave to the children at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

Following the Register's story on King, several readers left comments on the paper's Facebook page, accusing one of its staffers of making inappropriate comments on social media. The Register said it's investigating those reports.