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Spin Control

Posts tagged: twitter

Sunday spin: Inslee enters Twitter universe

OLYMPIA – It is impossible these days to criticize any experiment to merge politics with social media without sounding like a 21st Century Luddite, or at least some cranky octogenarian telling teenagers to turn down their music and get off the lawn.

Social media, after all, fueled the fire of the Arab spring and Tahrir Square. It eats dead-tree journalism for breakfast then orders a pumpkin spice latte to clear that “past its expiration date” taste out of the mouth.

So it is with some trepidation that I say the governor’s recent Twitter Town Hall was a bit underwhelming, at least from the standpoint of connecting state government and large segments of the population that don’t have regular access to the machinery of governing. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Baumgartner tied with Cantwell? Well, yes; but no

One of the dozens of e-mails in today's Inbox had this tantalizing subject line: “Cantwell/Baumgartner tied in Social Media Buzz”

A nice person from a public relations firm said she had some data on that race that might interest us: “According to a new media index from Temple University and LexisNexis, Maria Cantewell and Michael Baumgartner are in one of the tightest races in the country. The candidates are tied in social media buzz, as well as print and broadcast media mentions of the candidates.”

Wha-what?? as Scooby Doo might say.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Bad tweet from Obama camp on voter signup

The tweetster for the president — we're guessing Barack Obama is too busy to be sending these things out himself  — urged people this morning to fill out and mail in a voter registration form by today to meet deadlines. 

Fill in your name, e-mail address and ZIP Code, and it will direct you to a place that will supposedly let you do that.

If you are a would-be Washington voter, Don't Get Your Hopes Up.

The deadline for registering online was yesterday. The deadline for filling out a form and mailing it in was Saturday.

You can still register to vote, but to do so, you will have to go to your county elections office, in person, to fill out the form, sign it and hand it in. If you click through enough pages, it will eventually tell you that.

The other suspicious thing is the request that you supply your e-mail address, but not your physical address. Nothing tied to voter registration requires an e-mail address, because those can be as impermanent as a Kardashian wedding. Could it be the e-mail address is really for the campaign, and not for the process of securing voting rights for citizens?

Sunday Spin: Is Internet making politics better?

It’s not clear yet whether this year’s campaign staffs are hell bent on testing Marshall McLuhan’s theorem that “the medium is the message” or are so enamored with high tech that they think it’s the be-all and end-all of politics.
Last week, a member of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna’s campaign went from paid staffer to suspended staffer to fired staffer in the span of three days. Kathlyn Ehls had typed messages into Twitter that called for Asian Americans to “learn English” and senior citizens who walk too slowly across the street in front of her vehicle to “get a wheelchair.”
Ehls had tweeted these uncharitable thoughts months before going to work for the McKenna campaign. But the recent college graduate apparently was unaware, or forgot, the cardinal rule of venting in cyberspace: things on the Internet have a nasty habit of living forever and surfacing at inopportune times. These did, last Monday, on Seattle blogs.. .

New media ways to get into trouble

OLYMPIA — All of the “new media” opportunities for candidates in their staffs have a downside, the Rob McKenna campaign discovered this week. There are now more ways to do something stupid, and get caught at it, and have it come back months later to bite you in the posterior.

So it was that Kathlyn Ehl, a policy staffer for the Republican gubernatorial candidate's campaign, had to apologize Monday for sending out Tweets that disparaged Asians and seniors, before she was on the McKenna staff.

Seattle area blogs like Slog and Publicola reported that Ehls had tweeted in January that Asians should “shut up and speak English” and in November that anyone so old that it takes an entire light to cross the street should “GET A WHEELCHAIR”. Not good for a campaign that would like to get votes from one of the state's largest minority communities or the state's most dependable voting block.

By 5 p.m., McKenna had issued an apology. Unlike some political apologies, it didn't include a series of equivocations:

“The tweets sent by a member of my campaign staff, Kathlyn Ehl, which were reported today were offensive and inappropriate.  I am glad to see that she has apologized for her actions.
The fact that she made the comments before joining my campaign does not make them any less hurtful to Asian Americans and the elderly. They were insensitive and wrong regardless of their context.
She has done the right thing by apologizing.  I am hopeful that she has learned a humbling lesson that will give her greater perspective about having charity in her heart when considering the challenges faced by others.”

Tweeters ask Obama about jobs, taxes, economy

President Barack Obama answered questions about jobs, the economy, taxes, welfare and space programs in the first Twitter Town Hall meeting.

But nothing about marijuana, which was among the most “retweeted” topics before the session started.

The session allowed people around the country to send questions to Obama at the White House with a Twitter moderator. He acknowledged that he underestimated the recession and talked about the debt ceiling talks taking place this week.

For a complete transcript of the 90 minute session, courtesy of the White House Press Office, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Tweets to prez: How about legal pot?

President Obama is holding the first Twitter Town Hall today. Whatever you may think about the confluence of social media and democracy, there may be some signs that there are shortcomings.

For example, what do you think the most frequently aske question is?

Hey, Mr. President, what about more jobs?

or Hey, President Obama, when are  you getting us out of Afghanistan?

or Hey, Barack Baby, how about solving our immigration mess?

Nope, none of the above.

The most frequently tweeted or retweeted questions, according to, which tracks these things:

Would you consider legalizing marijuana to increase revenue and save tax dollars by freeing up crowded prisons, court rooms?

You've said many times that the Bush Cuts for the 2% should expire. Can you promis to let them in 2012?

Mr. President, why should you not be held responsible for your silling prediction that unemployment would stay below 8%

OK, so that last one is kind of about jobs, in what Sarah Palin might call a “gotcha” way.

In the event, they got to pick and choose, so there were questions about jobs and the economy and taxes.

But none about marijuana. For the complete transcript, courtesy of the White House Press office, go inside the blog.

McMorris Rodgers, Weiner get together for drugs

Although probably not what you're thinking. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Reps. Cathy McMorris and Anthony Weiner co-wrote a guest column in Roll Call, a Washington, D.C., publication, about the importance of independent pharmacies in cities, towns and rural America and explained three key pieces of legislation they are pushing this year a co-chairwoman and co-chairman of the newly re-established Community Pharmacy Caucus. A copy of the guest column can be found here.

But maybe this co-chairmanship could help Weiner, a New York Democrat, out in another area.

Weiner is probably better known for something other than making sure Mr. Gower's Drug Store stays open in Bedford Falls. He has gotten much attention in the last week for allegedly sending a photo, via Twitter, of his underwear (with him in it) to a woman in Washington state who is not his wife. Last week, Weiner said his Twitter account was hacked and  he didn't send the photo, but he couldn't say for sure that the photo wasn't him. It was been a gift to late night comedians.

Today he admitted that he did, after all, send that photo to the woman in Washington, as well as some other photos to other women, also not his wives, on Facebook.

McMorris Rodgers is, among other things, the GOP House Caucus's tech guru. She was among the first on Twitter and is constantly pushing other Republicans into social media cyberspace. She ought to be able to help Weiner brace up the security for his Twitter account and go over some tips on what to send and what not to send, an explanation how something sent out on Twitter never stays private for very long.

Gregoire does Twitter

Word came last week from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office that she is now on Twitter.

In truth, she’s been tweeting for a few weeks. But with the revolution in Iran apparently running on social networking media, her office wanted to make sure the governor is recognized as being whatever this week’s term for au courant might be.

She is so into it that she can even joke about it, in her own way. To wit: There once was a time, she says in the press release, when to “tweet’ was to chirp.

(Note to governor’s press staff: Do not let the boss quit her day job to do standup.)

Gregoire is also on Facebook, which unfortunately doesn’t make her at all cutting edge, considering that everybody is on Facebook, including the newspaper. And we all know that newspapers are as 21st Century as the wooly mammoth.

Tweeting the (GOP) revolution

Iranian protesters are using Twitter to organize and report the protests against the election.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican congressman, tweeted that he saw a parallel to the GOP’s travails last year. That prompted some withering responses.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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