donald trump

Trump tweet implies Paris is in Germany

This is a bit of a weird one.  I say weird because I find myself in the unlikely position of interpreting a tweet sent by Donald Trump in a more positive light than others.  Yep.  That’s weird.

Anyways: Last week, in light of a series of crimes occurring in Paris, Donald Trump tweeted out the following:


As you can see, the tweet mentions Paris, then Germany.  A possible interpretation of this tweet is that Mr. Trump thinks that Paris IS IN Germany…which, of course, it isn’t.  And that is exactly how Trump’s opponents took the tweet:


The tweet also inspired a variety of news stories and briefly made #ParisIsInGermany a trending topic on Twitter.

My opinion?  This was a poorly worded tweet.  Donald Trump is many things, but I don’t think he – or anyone on his campaign – really thinks Paris is in Germany.  Germany has had a spike in violence, including as many as 80 sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, and that is likely what Mr. Trump was referring to.  However, the phrasing of the tweet – which is obviously condensed by the 140 character limitation – lent itself to the interpretation that Mr. Trump thinks Paris is in Germany.

The lesson here? Careful with how you tweet things.  Again, I don’t think the Trump campaign was saying that they think Paris is in Germany, but you always have to be careful with how you phrase your tweets.  As frequent readers of this blog know, you can do a lot of damage in 140 characters or less, and your political opponents certainly won’t give you the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t make anything easy for them.

Bush campaign in the basement, Communications Director tweets about bear rape

Well…that’s one of the stranger titles I’ve ever written to a blog entry.

Alrighty.  Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, is running for President, and recent polls have him towards the bottom of the Republican pack, garnering just 3% in the last national poll.

Related to this story is the concept of bear rape.  Oy.  So, Leonardo DiCaprio is in a new movie, called Revenant.  Last week, the Drudge Report ran this headline:

Yeah, it’s not true at all.  Enter Tim Miller, Communications Director for Jeb Bush, who sent out this tweet:

Is this a problem?  I’d argue yes.  Here’s why: The Bush campaign, as noted above, is in the toilet.  This is for a variety of reasons, and there are plenty of stories now about how the Bush campaign is seeking to assuage skittish donors and carry on.  Therefore, if I was a high level Bush staffer…let alone the head of Communications…I would only tweet about politics, the campaign, and my candidate.  Tweeting about something as weird as BEAR RAPE gets you off message and generates negative national news headlines for your candidate.  For the Bush campaign to be saved, every ounce of energy must be dedicated towards the resuscitation of the candidate.  Tweets about bear rape from high level staffers won’t get you there.

Tweets and Consequences

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donald trump

The latest racist filth spewed by Donald Trump

Well, it’s been at least a week – definitely time for Donald Trump to tweet something awful and racist.

The other day, Trump retweeted this graphic:

Donald Trump racist crime tweet

Here’s the thing: Pretty much none of this is true.  Looking at the fact-checking:

Trump’s graphic states that 81% of whites who are murdered are murdered by blacks. This is false. The actual data shows that 14% of white murder victims are murdered by a black person. (In 2013, it was 13.6%.)

The percentage of blacks murdered by other blacks (89.9%) is similar to the percentage of whites murdered by other whites (82.3%). Trump’s graphic falsely states that 97% of blacks are killed by other blacks but just 16% of whites are killed by other whites.

Oh, and the source?  The Crime Statistics Bureau of San Francisco?  Literally doesn’t exist.  Not an actual thing.

Combine this graphic with Trump’s recent comments that a Black Lives Matter protester who was beat up at one of his rallies (“Maybe he should have been roughed up!“), as well as Trump’s other horrendous comments about Latinos and Muslims, and it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Trump is a pretty terrible racist.

Even Bill O’Reilly questioned Trump about the tweet, saying he was “bothered” by it (even if he didn’t think Trump was a racist) and that it gave others an opportunity to paint Trump as such.  Trump, defending himself, said that he, “retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert” and noted that he was tweeted at millions of times during the day – far too often to fact-check every tweet sent his way.

Of course, that concept is accurate – but no human being expects you to fact check the things that OTHERS tell you.  What is perfectly reasonable, of course, is that you fact check things that you say or retweet.  Trump, however, clearly has no cares about reality or facts.  He has previously said that others run his Twitter account, and I suspect that those others know exactly what they are doing.  Trump is blatantly race-baiting in an attempt to appeal to the worst of the Republican party.

Tweets and Consequences

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Ben Carson fails at America: Tweets out hilariously bad map

Last week, Ben Carson attempted to tweet out a map of all of the Governors who were not accepting Syrian refugees.  Here’s the map he tweeted:

Ben Carson Map

New England look a little funny to you?  It should, because it is hilariously inaccurate.  The Washington post summarizes what went wrong:

…Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are moved northeast by about 150 miles or so. Vermont and New York now have hundreds of miles of new beachfront property. Massachusetts shares a border with Canada. Maine straddles what is now the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Also, if you look closely at the mid-Atlantic area, you’ll see that Virginia’s portion of the Delmarva Peninsula is colored red to match Maryland, rather than gray with the rest of Virginia.

Seriously, I don’t even know what happened.  I mean, you pretty much have to try to get a map that wrong.  All you have to do is Google “American Map” and you’re good to go.

As of yet, the Carson campaign has failed to explain what went wrong with their hilariously bad version of the United States.  Maybe this was a graphics error, but as noted by Vox, it does beg the question: How did no one notice this before it was sent?

The lesson?  Proof your tweet – all aspects of it.  And when you tweet out a graphic, for crying out loud, look at the graphic first!

Tweets and Consequences

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State Representative candidate withdraws from race after saying ISIS “isn’t necessarily evil”

Well…yeah, I have no idea what happened here.

As of last week, Dan Kimmel, a Democrat, was a candidate for State Representative in Minnesota.  That changed after this tweet:


I cannot, for the life of me, understand what Mr. Kimmel was going for here.  He followed it up with this tweet:


Obviously, this was way too late, and the damage was done.  The tweet came after ISIS had taken responsibility for last week’s devastating Paris terrorist attacks that killed 129 and injured hundreds more, and Mr. Kimmel’s tweet essentially implied that ISIS is just a group of misunderstood community organizers.

Probably not the message that he was going for.

Kimmel was roundly criticized for the tweet, including by Democratic leaders in Minnesota, who called for his withdrawal from the race. In a statement, the head of the Minnesota DFL (Democratic Party in Minnesota) said, “On behalf of the Minnesota DFL, I strongly condemn his comments. I ask Dan Kimmel to apologize to all the families who have been torn apart by the terrorist organization and their senseless violence.”

To his credit – and to my surprise – Kimmel responded, not only with a full-throated apology, but by withdrawing from the race.  In a statement on his campaign website, Kimmel clarified that his tweet was made in reference to comments which occurred in the Democratic Presidential debate, not the Paris terrorist attacks.  He said that his tweet was “poorly worded and did not convey my intent.”  He then added that he wanted to:

…apologize to the volunteers and contributors who have put so much time, effort and money into my campaign. … I will do everything I can to help resolve the issue: most likely the best thing for me to do is shut up. The tweet was stupid. I’m sorry.

This is actually kinda sad.  I cannot imagine that Mr. Kimmel was going out of his way to say, “Hey, ISIS isn’t so bad, they’re just misunderstood!”  That being said, it was a dumb tweet – no excuses.  To Mr. Kimmel’s credit, he recognized that the comments made him completely uneelectable as a candidate, and withdrew.  The lesson here is obvious: Be very, very careful with what you say, and how you say it!

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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Facebook further forays into political advertising: Target political influeners

Facebook is making another foray into the world of political advertising, and this one is particularly interesting, as it will now allow you to target people who frequently focus on politics.

According to this article from Wired, the “political influencer” category will consist of people who:

  • Click on political ads.
  • Like numerous political pages.
  • Share content from political groups.

In other words, political fanatics.

From an election perspective, I can see this being useful…in a primary, but not a general.  Why?  Well, people who fall into this political influencer category will almost certainly have a set partisan and ideological orientation that makes their general election picks foregone confusion.  That being said, the same does not necessarily apply to primary campaigns, when ideological boundaries are (sometimes) less obvious.  As such, targeting political influencers – and trying to get them on your side – can be very useful.  I do wonder how much this will cost, however.  Typically, Facebook charges more per click for more specific targeting options, so I hope that this new targeting option is cost effective.

Looking at this broader than simply elections, I can see this method of targeting being useful for issue oriented campaigns that are attempting to gain attention and traction. If you are trying to reach political influencers, and target them based on their location, ideology and interests, you can potentially yield a very useful audience of influencers who are particularly interested in a certain field.  To that end, broader, issue-oriented campaigns may have a field day with this new targeting method.

Argentine cabinet official attacks opposition on Twitter, says his account was hacked

This is an interesting one.  Dr. Daniel Gollan is the Health Minister for Argentina.  Argentina is currently in the middle of a campaign season, and a run-off election on November 22 will determine if Daniel Scioli or Mauricio Marci will be Argentina’s next President.

Here’s where it gets strange. Daniel Gollan has a personal Twitter account and is a member of Scioli’s party.  In a series of tweets last week, Dr. Gollan said that the public health system would suffer if Marci, member of the opposition party, was elected.  Among the tweets which Dr. Gollan sent:

The 12 new centers for radiation therapy to treat cancer will continue (to be open) if Scioli is president. Think about your vote.

Dr. Gollan deleted the tweets and then said that his Twitter account was hacked:

I expressly deny posting that expression of bad taste. I’ve been a physician in public hospitals for more than 25 years and it would never occur to me to mix the problems that cancer causes for people suffering from it and their (friends and loved ones) with an election campaign, no matter how crucial it might be

There’s no way to tell whether or not this is true, of course.  It is certainly within the realm of dirty political tricks for someone to hack a cabinet member’s Twitter account and attempt to use those tweets to embarrass him.  This does go to show the importance, for VIPs, of using two-factor authentication when it comes to your social media accounts.  If the tweet was, in fact, sent by Dr. Gollan, bad call.  People don’t like mixing politics and medicine.