Archive for May, 2011

Who Gave Newt Gingrich My Email Address?

Newt Gingrich email

An unexpected gift arrived in my email inbox this evening: an invitation (subject line: “Invitation”) to join Newt Gingrich’s email list:

As you may have heard, I am an official candidate for president of the United States. But I know that it will take more than one person in the Oval Office to get our country back on the right track. That’s why I’m inviting you to join the campaign as we work to win the future together with the right policies and the right results.

The links go to a bare-bone email signup page, with no attempt at persuasion and no mention of social media despite the email’s touting of his 1.4 million fans and followers, but my question is this: how’d Newt get my address? His message is clearly unsolicited, since I haven’t asked to receive email from him, but since it’s political his entreaty is immune from spam restrictions. His campaign sent it to my address, which sometimes implies that it’s a blogger pitch, but this message is too generic for that and is coming from a mass-email system, a no-no for targeted outreach — unless Newt has a really bad blogger-relations team.

Of course he bought my email, probably as a relic of some long-dead campaign whose updates I agreed to receive months or years ago. I’m curious to see if I hear from him again via this list, and while I WILL sign for his updates out of a sense of (amateur) journalistic responsibility, I’ll use a different (and super top secret) address for that purpose. After all, how else would I be able to learn that “America only works when Americans are working”?


2 comments May 31st, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on to Co-sponsor Can’t-Miss Party at Netroots Nation/RightOnline

What happens when you mix devoted Liberal and Conservative activists in the same city for two different political conferences, and then add alcohol? I dunno, but we’re fixin’ to find out — is an official co-sponsor of the Netroots/RightOnline Right Meets Left and Left Meets Right Happy Hour in Minneapolis in just three short weeks. It’s being organized by the legendary (and lovely) Julie Germany, now of DCI Group but formerly director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, and will be co-sponsored on the conservative side by Right Wing News.

Mmmm, mmm, I do love me a good party, and this one’s shaping up to be a hoot and a half, plus an anthropological moment of the highest order…will heads explode when hardcore activists realize that they CAN actually have an intelligent discussion with someone with whom they disagree on just about everything? Or, will the whole event degenerate into a zombie-apocalypse-style bloodbath? Only one way to find out — and that’s to show up. Hope y’all can make it.


1 comment May 27th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Online Activists Take on Patrick McHenry over Elizabeth Warren Hearing

Yesterday’s House hearing on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau apparently took a harsh turn, with Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry in particular accusing interim director (and liberal darling) Elizabeth Warren of lying to Congress. In the process he apparently wasn’t very nice, and online activists have started to return the favor.

McHenry’s Facebook page was quickly besieged by comments criticizing his words and motives, and I’ve heard rumors that his staff deleted at least some of the messages (defense of Fort McHenry indeed!), though as of this writing plenty are still being added. That’s all fun and games, but someone also set up a Citizens Against Patrick McHenry Facebook Page and an ActBlue fundraising page dedicated to raising money for his eventual opponent, though they’re only up to $85 so far.

Remember the revolutionary days of the Clinton War Room? Now rapid response is a potential tool for ANY political cause, not just a campaign or organization able to hire professional communicators. I’ve never quite understood the seemingly visceral hatred that some Republicans have for Warren and her agency-to-be, but in this case it seems to have left at least one congressmember slightly unhinged. I wonder how he feels about the response, and if he’ll pick his words more carefully next time. Unlikely: it’s too easy to dismiss critics as fools and ignore them completely. Though we’ll see if they can raise enough of a stink (and a big enough pile of cash) that McHenry can’t just wave them away like flies at a cook-out.


Add comment May 25th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Predictions: The Future of Congressional Communications

A wealth of riches for our loyal readers! Check out the second guest article of the week, this one by a new guest author — Andrew Foxwell is the director of marketing and new media for iConstituent, a company that works with Congressional offices on digital communications. You can follow him at @andrewfoxwell.

Predictions: The Future of Congressional Communications

By Andrew Foxwell

In the campaign world, much buzz surrounds New Media, also called “digital” in some camps. The campaign world is a digital Wild West, a lawless society known for raising serious cash and getting people involved at astonishing speed. But what happens when a Member gets to Congress? Where does New Media find its place in the official communications of Congress?

All Members of Congress currently have a website, and most have an email newsletter tool to send out news, videos and other interactive pieces of content to their constituents. In addition, they all have a CRM to manage and respond to the hundreds of thousands of constituents they represent. Along with this mix, they also have (hopefully) some sort of social media account, either with Facebook or Twitter, or both. These tools are working, but questions remain. Are they working effectively? What change will the future bring? Here are iConstituent’s top three predictions:


1 comment May 19th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Bin Laden, Twitter, & Selective Journalistic Integrity

The latest from contributor Chris Talbot! A former Googler, Chris is the founder of Talbot Digital, on whose website this piece originally appeared. Check out his previous articles, All Buzz is Good Buzz: Taking Online Rapid Response to the Next Level and Switching to Guns: Political Air Wars Come to the Internet, or follow him at @talbotdigital.

Bin Laden, Twitter, & Selective Journalistic Integrity

By Chris Talbot

Bin Laden Dead - Twitter Social Media

In the days since the US Military killed Osama Bin Laden, a rather large amount of ink and pixels have been dedicated not to the content or impact of the story, but to how the story itself leaked out. Twitter was the main source of news, with more traditional online media outlets also outpacing the jumbled TV news coverage. Of course, Twitter played a role even as the event took place, as the now famous tech consultant in Abbottabad unwittingly live-tweeted the raid. Those Twitter posts have since been used to reconstruct a timeline on the assault, showing just how hard it is to keep anything under wraps these days, even for SEAL Team Six.

While this is one of the largest stories to date driven by Twitter, it is certainly not the first. It’s already become a well-regarded practice among savvy reporters to construct detailed social media alert feeds in order to catch breaking stories. This didn’t all happen yesterday.

The more intriguing piece of the media analysis ought to be the television news teams’ hesitation to broadcast rampant speculation prior to any confirmation of the story – as is their usual MO. Rachel Maddow stated days later on a Daily Show appearance that this was a story you could only mess up if you got out in front of the facts – which begs the question: why do our news media seem perfectly comfortable getting out ahead of the facts on all the other stories they report? What constitutes a story that should be reported “responsibly” according to a journalist’s approach – and which stories, say, need a little spark of supposition?

One answer might be this: news executives understood the Bin Laden report would make “good television” without too much bloviating added on – none of that irresponsible gossip that so often passes for “news” because it gives non-stories a good ratings bump. Such an answer puts all our news outlets firmly in the Entertainment industry camp rather than the News division.

Enjoy the Upfronts.

[Art: Mustified]

Great work, man! And right on target… – cpd

Add comment May 18th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Drop Fox: Media Matters’ Online Advertising Targets Fox News Via Orbitz

Drop Fox Ad targeting Orbitz

Here’s a good example of using a proxy target for your REAL opponent in an online advertising campaign: Media Matters has gone on the digital offensive against Fox News, but their ads are actually aimed at online travel service Orbitz. Here’s what’s up, and look to the right for a few frames from one of their video pieces.

Media Matters kicked off its DropFox campaign today by urging Orbitz (OWW), an online travel site, to pull its ads from the anti-LBGT Fox News network. Three high-profile gay rights organizations — GLAAD, Courage Campaign and Equality Matters — signed the letter to Orbitz CEO Barney Harford asking that the company no longer support Fox News through ad revenue.

Media Matters’ multi-issue DropFox campaign aims to hold Fox News accountable for its hate speech, misinformation, and other alarming deviations from the usual standards of anews organization. This campaign includes an online ad component to raise awareness about Orbitz’s financial support for Fox News.

It’s a good tactic, since Fox News couldn’t care less about Media Matters itself (in fact, the more a lefty organization like MM picks on Fox, the more cred the “news” network earns with its fan base), but Orbitz is another story. Consumer brands are usually very sensitive to how they’re perceived, making them far more vulnerable to online action than a typical politician — Congressional offices EXPECT to get criticized via email, and they accept that many constituents will simply never be happy with them, but a corporation takes a great risk if it runs off even a few of its customers. In this case, Orbitz is particularly vulnerable because it has advertised specifically at the LGBT community, opening it to charges of hypocrisy. And Media Matters and its allies aren’t being shy:

We are running an array of ads — from Google to Facebook to banner ads on specific sites — to raise awareness among consumers that their dollars might be going to support bigotry and misinformation and to ensure that brand managers understand the risk they run by associating with Fox News.

Good times all around! This tactic isn’t new, of course, since advocacy groups have pushed advertisers to drop their support of particular networks and shows many times in the past, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.


Add comment May 16th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Ten Things It’s Time We Were Done With

  1. Emo
  2. The Laffer Curve
  3. “Reality” TV
  4. Droopy drawers (hip hop variety)
  5. Hack-spewed talking points on cable “news”
  6. Endlessly looping viagra/light beer/car insurance commercials
  7. Throat-singing (metal variety)
  8. McMansions
  9. Newt Gingrich
  10. A political discourse based on fear.



Add comment May 13th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Quick Hits — May 10, 2011

So THAT’S what a month’s worth of Quick Hits looks like.


Add comment May 10th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

Friday Fun: The Cats of War

The Cats of War

Enough politics for one week! Let’s wrap up a tumultuous few days with something a little more enlightening than the average blog post — a Very Serious Look at the secret Pentagon history of using cats in warfare.

Careful with that trigger, Fluffy! Yes, apparently the U.S. military has been employing cats on veeeeery important national security missions for decades, for instance taking advantage of the fact that wily felines always land on their feet to have them lead the way on airborne missions (no parachutes required!).

How many Iraqi insurgents and Taliban strike teams fell victim to silent-but-deadly neck bites and the occasional vicious tail-smack? How many times have purrs of triumph echoed across the battlefield to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies? We’ll never know, because these operatives don’t talk (they just yowl now and again).

For more, check out’s shocking exposé — and get ready to re-write the textbooks, because no military history of the 20th Century will be complete until it takes on the vital question of litter-box logistics.


Add comment May 6th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on

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