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Controversial GOP posts prompt party to draft social-media guidelines

Controversial GOP posts prompt party to draft social-media guidelinesA controversy over the use of social media has broken out and helped prompt the state GOP to draft social-media best-practices guidelines.

“It is important for Republicans to realize the power and risk of online social media,” said GOP Chair Keith Downey. “They are carrying the Republican message and brand with everything they put out there.”

Downey was referring to a Facebook post by the Chisago County Republican Party that included the line “Pro-choice: Against slavery? Don’t buy one” and another Facebook post by Winona County Republicans depicting a toothless President Obama with a racially stereotyping grin and a doctored photo of Michelle Obama with gold grills. The post —  that  included the headline “If you like your teeth…”— apparently was intended to suggest this is what you would look like if you used Obamacare to get dental insurance.

The posts prompted a Twitter exchange between Downey and DFL Party Chair Ken Martin. Martin tweeted: “Are you serious?Once again the #MNGOP proves that racism is alive and well in their party.This is unacceptable.” DFL Executive Director Corey Day also issued a statement attacking the state GOP for not criticizing the posts more strongly.

Michael Brodkorb’s politics.mn has a good summary of the tense back-and-forth over the posts.

The DFL, meanwhile, had its own taste of tastelessness with a post on the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s website that compared gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson to the gruesome serial killer Patrick Bateman in the film “American Psycho.”

“When we realized what the image actually meant we took it down…within 10 minutes,” said ABM Executive Director Carrier Lucking, who noted the DFL Party has had social-media guidelines in place for several years.

Downey said the Republican Party is updating all of its policies —  “We are building this organization from the ground up” — but that its social-media policy is particularly important. “So many of our local groups are new to this and they need to be aware of things they may not have worried about in the past,” he said.

The guidelines offer basic do’s and don’ts for groups that are in the public eye, such as: “Do present intelligent, responsible, trustworthy information. Don’t be obnoxious, petty juvenile, demeaning.”

Downey said the guidelines are still in draft form. He expects them to be approved by the party’s executive committee this week and then sent out to local Republican units.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 11/18/2013 - 11:07 am.

    In short, don’t be a jerk…

    If you can’t understanding the line between right and wrong online, you probably should not use social media.

  2. Submitted by David Frenkel on 11/18/2013 - 11:14 am.

    Where have these politicians been?

    How can any of these politicians pretend to be leaders in our communities when they don’t understand some of the basic technologies that all of us use including children? Just this weekend the StarTribune had a cover story about the Internet of Things and how the Internet brings $Billions of dollars of business opportunities to MN. Meanwhile our politicians don’t understand social media.

  3. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/18/2013 - 11:25 am.

    Responsible Postings

    So if they’re going to post intelligent material, are the GOP then getting away from the mantras that “facts don’t matter” and “we make our own reality”? It seems those would be good items to eliminate if their aim is to have an intelligent discussion on issues and engage people on a civil level.

  4. Submitted by Dean Carlson on 11/18/2013 - 12:08 pm.

    That may restrict the GOP

    Don’t be obnoxious, petty, juvenile, demeaning.

    Does this mean that the Republicans won’t be able to post their party platform?

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/18/2013 - 12:09 pm.

    Junk like this

    is why conservatives and libertarians have nothing do with the frat boy wing, known as “Republican Party.” We’ll continue to contribute directly to conservative candidates and bypass the self-destructive party establishment.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/18/2013 - 01:10 pm.

    One small note

    Both Republican offenses were actually posted on party websites. Alliance for a Better MN is not a Democratic party website although they often support DFL initiatives. Something of a false equivalency to compare them. Further more ABM quickly responded and apologized.

  7. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/19/2013 - 06:08 pm.

    This is kind of an odd piece…

    For anyone who keeps an eye on twitter some of Downey’s statements seem rather odd. For example, he and the party secretary of the GOP have differing views on the wisdom of posting the slavery piece. Apparently, Chris Fields seemed to think that it was perfectly OK.

    I’ve been wondering for some time how long the moderate – or at least middle right-wing of the Republican party – would continue to tolerate the filth and venom spewed by the far right wing of the party. I could name names and cite tweets but that has not been too popular with comment moderators. Suffice it to say that even a cursory glance at the #stribpol hashtag will bear this out.

    As for the GOP establishment being a bunch of frat boys, twitter evidence does not seem to bear this out. The frat boys – one of whom even dresses in a tuxedo – seem to be the conservative type and are in fact the kind of folks who do serious damage to the GOP. As is the case with conservative AM radio hosts and the so-called “activists” of the party. Why is it that the activists all seem to be conservatives and all regularly shoot themselves in the feet?

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