Governor Christie tweets about bongs, blames auto-correct

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This was one of those unintentional Twitter mistakes that was actually pretty well handled: in a tweet that was captured by Politwoops, Governor Christie’s office accidentally tweeted about bongs from his official Twitter account:

Chris Christie Tweets Bongs

Clearly, nothing about the above tweet was right.  It was quickly deleted and replaced by the appropriate tweet:

The Governor then joked about the errand tweet:

This is pretty much as good as you can handle a Twitter mistake, or at least one of this magnitude (pretty minor): You acknowledge what happened and you joke about it.  An apology wasn’t really necessary here, since this was minor and obviously unintentional.

I will add that this entire danger does show the danger of tweeting too quickly.  I’ve been a victim of this as well, and pretty recently, but if you don’t prove your tweets you can find yourself in hot water.  It happens to everyone, but for your own sanity, proof your tweets before hitting that send button.

A Facebook share, a negative mailer

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This is one of the more interesting instances I can recall of Facebook being used in a negative mailer, mainly because of the lack of proof surrounding the alleged post.

Brian Davis is a Democratic candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives, challenging Republican Representative Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson).  Pauls recently launched a mailer against Davis for a Facebook image that he allegedly shared on his Facebook page:

The controversial Facebook post appears to have come from “Armed Democrats on FB” and supposedly appeared on Davis’ candidate Facebook page in April. It shows a hooded man pointing a gun at the camera and says: “Did You know? Most of the terrorist activity in the U.S. in recent years has not come from Muslims, but from radical Christians, white supremacists and far-right militia groups.”

“Is there anything else I need to say?” appears to be Davis’ comment.

Here’s the thing: Davis denies having ever posted such a comment, and the comment doesn’t appear on his Facebook page.  That’s not to say that it never appeared, however, as the comment could have been deleted.  But, without proof, this comes down to a “his word against hers” situation, which makes it interesting that the mailer was launched in the first place.  Of course, this is politics that we are talking about, and proof has never really mattered too much.

What this mailer does show is the dangers of Facebook for political candidates.  I have no idea whether or not Davis made such a post to his Facebook page.  If so, it would be pretty stupid, but as this blog has shown, people in politics do stupid things on social media all the time.  If you assume, for the sake of argument, that the post did happen, then the lesson is obvious: be careful with the content that you post on your Facebook page.

If, however, you believe Davis and he never made the post, the lesson is this: social media can be another liability.  You can’t prove a negative, and I can’t think of anyway to show that this post was never made, since all the evidence could be deleted.  Unless Pauls actually has proof that the post was made, like a screenshot, I think Davis may have a real case for a lawsuit.  This entire incident is proof that a Facebook page can be used in a negative matter, even if you never do anything negative.  That’s a harsh reality of social media and politics, unfortunately.

Election 2014: Who is winning Twitter?

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Twitter Logo

Following up on yesterday’s entry, I want to take a look at the top six Senate races and the Twitter accounts of the various contenders.  The post below checks out their various pages, as well as the amount of followers, type of content and frequency of updates.  Again, the purpose of this entry is to see which campaigns are doing well on Twitter, and which aren’t.  When the election is done, I’ll be very curious to compare the winners to the losers and see what role we can assign to social media – if any.

Anyway, to the pages!

Alaska

  • Senator Mark Begich (D)
    • Followers:  3,360
    • Past five pieces of content: Retweet of voting message, Picture from event, Group endorsement, Debate tweet and Debate tweet.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within one day.
  • Dan Sullivan (R)
    • Followers: 2,023
    • Past five pieces of content: Ad, positive message retweet, volunteer request, individual endorsement, attack ad.
    • Frequency of tweets:  Within one day.

Arkansas

  • Senator Mark Pryor (D)
    • Followers: 1,981
    • Past five pieces of content: Event picture, supporter picture, encouragement for early voting, news about minimum wage ballot petition, early voting graphics.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within past day.
  • Representative Tom Cotton (R)
    • Followers: 8,693
    • Past five pieces of content: Newspaper endorsement, picture of meeting voters, Response to someone who said they were voting for him, ad, ad.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within past day.

Colorado

  • Senator Mark Udall (D)
    • Followers: 2,520 
    • Past five pieces of content:  Volunteer recruitment, event pics, event pics, volunteer, event quote.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within one day.
  • Representative Cory Gardner (R)
    • Followers: 8,079
    • Past five pieces of content: Thanks to volunteers with pic, Thanks to volunteers with pic, Thanks to volunteers with pic, Thanks to volunteers with pic, Go Broncos!
    • Frequency of tweets: Past five days.

Kansas

  • Senator Pat Roberts (R)
    • Followers: 1,908
    • Past five pieces of content: Event pics, event quote, event quote, event quote, event pics.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within one day.
  • Greg Orman (I)
    • Followers: 5,428
    • Past five pieces of content: Endorsement quote, endorsement quote with pic, YouTube clip of debate, endorsement quote, event pic.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within past two days.

Louisiana

  • Senator Mary Landrieu (D)
    • Followers: 4,566
    • Past five pieces of content: Event advertisement, early voting graphic, early voting graphic, event advertisement, newspaper endorsement.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within one HOUR.  
  • Congressman Bill Cassidy (R)
    • Followers: 8,133
    • Past five pieces of content: Comparison ad, event advertisement, event pictures, early voting picture, early voting picture.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within one day.

Iowa

  • Congressman Bruce Braley (D)
    • Followers: 4,390
    • Past five pieces of content: Volunteer request, volunteers in action/request, advertisement, advertisement, “commit to vote” link.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within three hours.
  • Joni Ernst (R)
    • Followers: 7,264
    • Past five pieces of content: Event pics, event pics, petition for college affordability, early voting, event picture.
    • Frequency of tweets: Within eight hours.

Election 2014: Who is winning Facebook?

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Unless you are living under a rock, you know that the 2014 elections are coming up.  In many states, voting has already started, and it is now standard operating procedure for any campaign to use social media to energize volunteers, solicit donations and get out the vote.

Here’s my question today: How are the various campaigns using social media?  I’m going to do a few entries on this in the upcoming days and wanted to start with the 800 pound social media gorilla: Facebook.

So, to that end, let’s take a look at how the top six Senate toss-up elections are using Facebook.  One quick note thought: this is just a snapshot in time about how the campaigns are using Facebook as I write this entry (which is on October 27, 2014).  That being said, it’s an instructive date: there is still some persuasion going on, as well as donor solicitation, but with barely a week to go before the election, just about every campaign has moved into “get out the vote” mode.

To the Facebook pages!

Alaska

  • Senator Mark Begich (D)
    • Likes: 20,400
    • Cover Photo: Cover page showing the faces of voters, but with a prominent graphic about Early Voting.
    • Past five pieces of content: A picture to change your profile to an “I voted early for Mark Begich” link, a volunteering plea, a picture of a campaign event and two newspaper endorsements.”
    • Frequency of updates: All within the past sixteen hours.
  • Dan Sullivan (R)
    • Likes: 13,106
    • Cover Photo: A Hashtag (#StandWithDan) and a link with information on voting.
    • Past five pieces of content: A request for volunteers, information on voting early, a link to the campaign YouTube channel and two pictures of family at an events.
    • Frequency of updates: All within the past three days.

Arkansas

  • Senator Mark Pryor (D)
    • Likes: 19,304
    • Cover Photo: Pryor at a campaign rally, surrounded by Pryor signs.
    • Past five pieces of content: Video message from Pryor after he voted early, picture of Pryor at an event, YouTube link to an ad, Bible quote and picture from an event.
    • Frequency of updates: All within the past three days.
  • Representative Tom Cotton (R)
    • Likes: 240,457 (WOW)
    • Cover Photo: Cotton at a campaign rally.
    • Past five pieces of content: Advertisement for an event, YouTube link to an ad, pictures from en event, link to a campaign ad and campaign picture/graphic.
    • Frequency of updates: All within past four days.

Colorado

  • Senator Mark Udall (D)
    • Likes: 14,021
    • Cover Photo: Udall speaking at an event.
    • Past five pieces of content: Encouragement for people to mail in their ballot, Event pictures, “Inside look” video at campaign event, picture from campaign event and encouragement for people to mail in their ballot.
    • Frequency of updates: All within past three days.
  • Representative Cory Gardner (R)
    • Likes: 23,246
    • Cover photo: Scenery.
    • Past five pieces of content: Link encouraging people to vote, link encouraging people to vote, ad, picture that people can use showing that they voted, cover photo that people can use showing that they support Gardner.
    • Frequency of updates: All within past 11 days.

Kansas

  • Senator Pat Roberts (R)
    • Likes: 15,075
    • Cover Photo: Scenery.
    • Past five pieces of content: Event advertisement, attack on opponent (abortion), newspaper endorsement, newspaper endorsement and event photo.
    • Frequency of updates: Past three days.
  • Greg Orman (I)
    • Likes: 23,102
    • Cover Photo: Orman with scenery in the background.
    • Past five pieces of content: Attack on Roberts (poor attendance/”release your calendar”), newspaper endorsement, newspaper endorsement, ad, attack ad.
    • Frequency of updates: All within past three days.

Louisiana

  • Senator Mary Landrieu (D)
    • Likes: 8,968
    • Cover Photo: Pink Ribbon with the text “I’m with Mary” and an image of Louisiana.
    • Past five pieces of content: Event pictures, event pictures, news story, event pictures and an “I voted for Mary” logo that can be used as a profile picture.
    • Frequency of updates: Within past three days.
  • Congressman Bill Cassidy (R)
    • Likes: 20,423
    • Cover Photo: Image encouraging people to vote early.
    • Past five pieces of content: Early voting status update with picture, early voting image, event picture, event picture, picture of volunteers.
    • Frequency of updates: Within past three days.

Iowa

  • Congressman Bruce Braley (D)
    • Likes: 36,646
    • Cover Photo: Braley speaking at a rally.
    • Past five pieces of content: Attack ad, attack picture, event advertisement, event picture, newspaper endorsement.
    • Frequency of updates: Within one day.
  • Joni Ernst (R)
    • Likes: 16,904
    • Cover Photo: Scenery with logo superimposed.
    • Past five pieces of content: Ad (which was pinned to the top – only candidate I’ve seen use this), event pictures, event pictures, event pictures, event pictures.
    • Frequency of updates: Within one day.

Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Cruz: Blame Ebola on Obamacare

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Nick Muzin is Ted Cruz’s Deputy Chief of Staff.  Muzin has a Twitter account which isn’t very active, and after his recent experiences, I expect that Muzin wishes he had kept it that way.

Last Thursday, Muzin sent out this brilliant tweet:

Nick Muzin Ebola Obamacare Tweet
Just…gahh.  I mean, really.

Muzin deleted the tweet shortly after it was sent.  He then sent out this explanation:

I’m actually inclined to believe Muzin, if only for one one reason: I simply cannot imagine that any member of the human race would be so stupid as to think that the tweet Muzin sent out was factual.

The tweet did Cruz and Muzin no favors, and earned them national coverage on a variety of websites and papers, including Mediate, The Hill, the Washington Post and MSNBC.  Perhaps most importantly for Cruz is that the tweet also earned him press in his home state of Texas.

Context is important to remember here, and I mean that in a few ways.  Had a Democrat sent out an identical tweet, I think most people would have recognized it as a bad joke.  The fact that it came from a staffer to Senator Ted Cruz made the tweet seem much worse, as it is at least possible that Senator Cruz and his supporters could believe such a ridiculous statement.

Furthermore, with only 140 characters to work with, this tweet seems like an insanely stupid joke, no matter who it came from.  Again, context is important, and it’s difficult to recognize this tweet as a joke, particularly given that it came from a Senator Cruz staffer.  If there is any general lesson to learn here, it’s that you have to be VERY clear with your meanings on Twitter, and that your political opponents will never give you the benefit of the doubt.  To that end, use jokes carefully!

Conservative Think Tank: Don’t worry about date rape, ladies

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AEI_logoFor the life of me, I can’t understand what’s happening here.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a conservative think tank dedicated to “producing leading research in several key policy areas that weave a tapestry of the organization’s core beliefs: respect and support for the power of free enterprise, a strong defense centered on smart international relations, and opportunity for all to achieve the American dream.”  It is certainly one of the more prominent think tanks in this country and is regularly involved in the political debate.

The above paragraph begs the question: why the heck are they getting involved in a conversation about date rape, and why are they minimizing the subject?

Earlier this week, AEI posted this video from its YouTube channel:

Uhh….

The video opens with, “Ladies, have you been told not to drink the punch at parties?  Have you asked a friend to watch your drink because you are afraid to leave it alone, even for a moment…There are ‘supposedly’ predators…..”

And look, computer simulated stills!

AEI1 AEI2

You can’t make this stuff up.  I wish it was made up, but it’s not.

The video goes on to downplay the threat of date rape drugs, saying, “Most commonly, victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault are severely intoxicated, often from their own volition.”

From all reports, the claims made in the video are incorrect.  25% of all women report that drugs were a factor in their rape – not a small number by any stretch of the imagination.

According to the Huffington Post, “conservative pundits have been leading the backlash” against the Obama Administrations push to reduce sexual assaults on college campuses.  So, this video would seem to be part of that response.

I guess that begs the question: really?  Really? The President of the United States is trying to make women on college campuses safe from sexual assault, and there are some out there who are opposed to such a mission?  This is one of the most bizarre uses of YouTube I’ve ever seen – the topic is strange and the odd computer animation seems like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit that airs close to the conclusion of the program, when most of the viewers have already gone to bed.  I cannot believe that there are groups out there which think this is a good use of resources.  The social media lesson here?  Stick to areas that matter and won’t cause a backlash.

Not how to get female votes: Mock overweight women

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For the second time, an incident with the Carl DeMaio Congressional campaign is causing me to write a blog entry.  DeMaio is challenging Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA).  His campaign had been previously featured in the blog when he hired a staffer, retweeted the new staff members excited tweet about his new job, and then discovered that the staffer had previously sent off a series of racist and offensive tweets.  More recently, DeMaio has been accused of sexual harassment and then trying to pay off his accuser (its worth noting that the criminal investigation into that complaint has been closed due to a lack of evidence).

Anyway, in today’s entry, it has recently come to light that DeMaio sent out this Email to two staffers.  I’m not including the picture – if you want to see it, click the link.  The picture itself features an overweight woman, in a bra, eating a chicken nugget.

Kate Lyon, whose name is in the subject, is the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Scott Peters’ campaign.  Apparently, DeMaio thinks she is overweight, and decided to mock her with this Email (the woman pictured is not Kate Lyon).  It came to light after Todd Bosnich, former DeMaio policy director, released it to the public.  Incidentally, Bosnich is the staffer who has accused DeMaio of sexual harassment.  Said Bosnich:

Me and Dave [other person on the Email] were pretty shocked because we both know Kate, and while we don’t agree with her politically she is very well respected on both sides. Neither of us responded,” Bosnich told TPM that he and McCulluch didn’t respond to the email.

Needless to say, the Peters campaign was not happy.  In a statement, spokesman Alex Roth said:

Kate Lyon is one of the most experienced and respected members of our staff. She previously worked as an attorney, and for NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. It is disgusting and despicable that this champion for women’s rights, or any woman, would be demeaned this way. I wish I could say it is shocking, but coming from Carl DeMaio, nothing is shocking.

I can’t find a comment from DeMaio on the Email, so it appears to me that he didn’t respond, but…wow.  It’s a deeply offensive Email and certainly reveals a lack of respect for women, as far as I am concerned.  It also reveals a secondary lesson: don’t put anything offensive in digital format.  As a recent scandal in my home state has taught us, once again, don’t ever write anything digitally that you’d be uncomfortable seeing on the front page of your local newspaper.

Congressional candidate: Same-sex marriage is a “pestilence” and same-sex couples are “gremlins”

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gremlins

Above: Gay people, according to Anthony Culler

Anthony Culler is the Republican nominee for Congress in South Carolina’s 6th District.  He’s running an uphill campaign against Congressman James Clyburn, a civil rights hero who has held the seat since 1993.  Culler has made national news for a bizzarre anti-gay post that he made to Facebook last week.  In the 520 word post, Culler made the following post to his Facebook page:

Same-sex “marriage” is a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family. These people, like my opponent SC-6 Congressman Jim Clyburn who OPENLY supports same-sex “marriage,” seek to destroy the traditional family and the values we cherish.

If you believe in traditional families and that marriage is defined as an institution between one man and one woman then I ask that you start acting like it and START VOTING like it! Do not buy the “cuteness” and “What will it hurt?” arguments whispered in your ears and marketed to our children. Same-sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life.

There was more to the post, but you get the general idea.

Unsurprisingly, Culler’s remarks were roundly condemned, including by the South Carolina Republican Party.  Said GOP Chairman Matt Moore, “Most people learned in kindergarten not to call other people names…Our party believes in the conservative definition of marriage, but we also believe in loving our neighbors and treating them with respect. Mr. Culler’s desperate, attention-seeking antics in no way represent the good, decent South Carolinians I’ve met across our state.”

Frequent readers of this blog will know that, when someone makes a social media fail, they generally do one of two things:

1) Apologize and try to move on.
2) Double down.

Guess what Culler did?

In a video, Culler went for the double down, leaning against a cannon and declaring, “No matter how many Gremlins there are across this country, we here in the sixth district will stand against it.”  In the caption in which Culler posted the video, he said, “”Gremlins” and pro-abortion activists need to be concerned…there’s a Christian running in South Carolina that you can’t intimidate or stop.”

It’s worth noting that Culler has also used his Facebook page to attack the South Carolina Republican Party, which is probably not the preferred tactic for rallying his base.  Even before the above Facebook post, Culler was bashing the South Carolina Republican Party:

James Culler 3 James Culler 2 James Culler 1

Whatever you do, don’t feed Mr. Culler after midnight.

St. Louis police officer calls woman’s employer over mean tweets about Ferguson

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Keith NovaraIn what I would call one of the more bizarre uses of police power that I’ve seen, at least as it relates to the case of Ferguson, a St. Louis police officer is under investigation after calling the employer of realtor Leigh Maibes. Maibes had fired off a series of tweets about the tragedy in Ferguson, and that apparently earned her boss a phone call from police.

Maibes has also released a call of her confronting the officer over the phone:

In the call with officer Keith Novara, Mables tells the officer that she feels like she is being intimidated by the police.  Novara confirms that he made the call, but said that some of Maibes’ tweets were “inciteful” and wanted to give Maibes’ real estate broker a “heads up.” Meanwhile, Officer Novara has obtained a lawyer and is trying to say that the purpose of the phone call was to “set the record straight.”

This is, without a doubt, one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen a police officer do.  It’s also one of the dumbest.  The St. Louis area is clearly undergoing some very significant challenges in terms of the relationship between the police and the general public.  For an officer to use his police power to call the employer of someone saying mean things against police on Twitter strikes me as a terrible use – and probably abuse – of his power.  A quick look at Maibes’ profile reveals quite a few tweets about Ferguson & Shaw.  However, a question: so?  Do we now live in a country that is not protected by the first amendment? Since when did it become a police matter to try to call the boss of someone who was firing off critical tweets?  In fact, if that happened to every single person who sent off tweets like this, how on earth would the police have time to do ANYTHING?

The only reason I can think that Maibes’ tweets would be inappropriate is if they specifically made threats or called for violence.  However, if that were the case, the appropriate and perfectly reasonable and legal course of action for police would have been to file chargers…not call Maibes’ boss.  There’s just no way, in my mind, that such a call was appropriate, and this seems to me to be an attempt to silence a critical citizen.

State Senator sends Facebook message to taunt laid off reporter

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I’ve written previously about Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield, the genius who recently blogged that Obamacare is like the Holocaust.  Campfield is also the author of the infamous “don’t say gay” legislation, which would have stopped any K-8 teachers from discussing homosexuality.  Senator Campfield’s constituents had apparently had enough, as he lost his 2014 primary reelection 69-26.  That’s a pretty serious loss for any incumbent.

Enter Cari Gervin, a former reporter for the Metro Pulse in Knoxville.  I say former because Gervin, like other reports at the Metro Pulse, were let go in a round of layoffs.  Apparently, Campfield had been previously upset at reporting by Gervin, because he sent her this Facebook message:

Yes, that’s right, a State Senator is taunting a recently laid off reporter.  If that doesn’t get your blood boiling, I’m not quite sure what will.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Gervin said that Campfield had previously sent her “mean, harassing text messages.” Clearly, someone failed media relations 101, but that’s another story.

In an interview with Reuters, Campfield said, ““Do I care about someone who lost their job lying about me? No.” He also made these comments on Facebook in response to a post on the matter:

Well when someone has lied about you as much as Gervin lied about me. Reporting how my events were canceled when they were not. Never retracting what she said. Reporting complete mistruths even after I gave her contact people to verify what I was saying was completely true (of course 48 hours before the election). Then contacting me right after the election to ask me “so do you have any comments now?” then I think turn about is fair play. If you can’t take, don’t dish.

Lots of reporters have been fired. Have you ever seen me comment on them? Doubt it. Because mostly they were at least somewhat fair and reasonable. They didn’t always agree with my point of view but that’s ok. At least they were not making things up or completely disregarding the truth to hit me. Gervin did.

So, two wrongs make a right, according to Senator Campfield.  It’s good to know that he has the moral compass of a kindergartner.  Okay, that’s an unfair statement.  To kindergartners.

As I have said many times before, I don’t think social media makes people dumber, I just think it gives people who are already dumb another venue in which they can spew dumb things.  Clearly, the outgoing Senator is a prime example of this. To send a message like this to another human being who has recently been laid off requires a lack of judgement, tact, and frankly, heart.  Clearly, Campfield has issues which go well beyond the propensity to do stupid things on Facebook and blogs.

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