Reporters and Twitter often a bad mix

Former Pioneer Press top editor Thom Fladung is in the center of a journalistic firestorm — or what passes for one — in his native Cleveland.

Fladung, who left Minnesota for the Cleveland Plain Dealer a year ago, removed a reporter from his beat — covering the Cleveland Browns — because Tony Grossi thought he was sending a direct message to someone when he tweeted to the world that team owner Randy Lerner is “a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world”?

“It’s a testament to the fact that, in this day and age, where social networks make people more accessible than ever, public figures must be especially careful as to how they present themselves,” a writer for the Dawg Pound Daily says.

It also rekindles an old debate: Is the crime here that the reporter has an opinion? Or is it that now you know what it is?

Fladung called a local sportstalk station to explain it…

In other Cleveland football news, the Browns are about to hire former Vikings coach Brad Childress. In the interest of job security, it might not be a bad idea for football beat writers in that city to go ahead and shut down their Twitter accounts now.