Twitter Fail? Christian Coalition Canvasses for “American Values,” May Get Liberal Ones

headshot(4)Like many political action organizations, the conservative-leaning Christian Coalition ( tagline: Defending America’s Godly Heritage!) has a Twitter presence. With almost 5,000 Twitter followers and steady updates, the Christian Coalition will no doubt be heard in the Twitterverse and beyond.

But when one Tweets to the masses, not every reader will comprise your typical audience. When This Recording and Tumblr blogger Tyler Coates got wind of a survey the conservative organization posted to their website, he (and quite a few re-tweeters) started passing it around.

While people of all political stripes identify as Christian, Tyler (a self-identified liberal and a gay man) and his Twitter followers are probably not the anti-gay, anti-choice Christian Coalition’s intended audience.

So is posting the survey – which is already being filled out by would-be values voting saboteurs, and which Tyler said he found from a chain work e-mail – a Twitter fail?

“I don’t think it’s really stupid for them to post [the survey] online, because I think they assume that those not in their demographic will keep up with their website and news to see it was there,” said Tyler via IM. (Full disclosure: Tyler is a friend of mine.)

“But I do think it’s important that people outside the demographic fill out the survey, too, because it’s vital to see ALL Americans’ values,” adds Coates, who says he identifies as liberal.

There is a precedent online for trolling a political rival’s media message. When Focus on the Family promised free promotional material to followers, The Stranger columnist Noel Black wrote a widely-reblogged column encouraging anti-Family readers to sign up for material and deprive the organization of some cheddar. And the Free Republic, a well-known far-right message board, kept Ron Paul at the top of an ABC News poll of potential presidential candidates.

With avenues like Twitter and the blogosphere, it’s easier than ever for political action groups to get immediate political feedback. And it’s even easier for survey participants far outside of the survey’s purported demographic to game the system.

But even if the Christian Coalition got the results they wanted, who would trust the results? On the wild, woolly Internet, is such open-ended canvassing really a way to stay on media message?

Jessica Gold Haralson is a writer and a gamer who writes about various topics, including entertainment, pop culture, and new media. She probably spends more time than is necessary playing World of Warcraft. You can see more of her writing on her Tumblr here.

Tumbl/CounterTumbl: Peter Feld and John Carney Debate Health Care


Yesterday, bloggers Peter Feld and John Carney had a heated back-and-forth about health care on their various Tumblrs. Among other points, they debated death panels, the relevance of police tasering to the discussion, and just how good the U.S. Postal Service is.

It all started out with this short post by Carney:


Trying to defend Obamacare, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein said he saw no evidence that the government was prone to madness.

Watch this video about cops tazering a teenager with a broken back 19 times if you also think you haven’t seen evidence of government madness.

I know “death panels” are a scare tactic. But when it’s not hard to believe in death panels when you see this sort of thing.

Here’s what Peter Feld (above, left) had to say. To see Carney’s rebuttal, click here.

This takes the cake, but it’s indicative of the distracting, misleading, intentionally irrelevant campaign that health care opponents on the right have been waging. Here’s how it works: Take something completely unrelated to health care, that puts government in a bad light, and say, hey! you hate waiting at the DMV, don’t you? Or the Post Office? Well then, you sure don’t want the government anywhere near your health care! Look at the cops torture that poor kid — well, you sure as heck don’t want these people in charge of your medical treatment!

When I was on Fox News with two Republicans last week, they tried to taunt me with “what has the government ever done well?” That’s not hard to answer. NASA put a man on the moon. FEMA does a pretty good job when it’s not being run by George Bush. The government built the interstate highway system. We have public universities (that means, run by the government!) at the top of the rankings, like UC Berkeley where I studied, or Michigan, or SUNY. As for the Post Office, where’s the complaint? Put a 44 cent stamp on a piece of paper and a few days later it will be delivered across the country. And as Bush-lovers have bragged, the government prevented another terror attack on US soil after 9/11.

Closer to health-care relevance, the government inspects the food supply and keeps us from being poisoned. And the National Institutes of Health is at the forefront of medical research, the Food and Drug Administration safeguards the approval of new medication, and the Centers For Disease Control are masters at coping with pandemics. And there are great government-run hospitals. Even the DMV — and I’ve been caught up in their system once or twice — generally hands me a number and takes care of me as quickly as any other line I have to wait on. I could go on.

A video of a kid being tasered (removed for your non-viewing pleasure) might be an argument against police having tasers. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t let the government anywhere near our law enforcement! Maybe we shouldn’t let the Feds send Americans abroad with guns and weapons, either. Or operate prisons. Well, a few of the people showing up to yell at their congressmen might actually make one or two of those arguments, too. (The same ones who show up to see the President with loaded guns, maybe). Either way, that clip has zero relevance to this issue. You do not need to see a kid being tasered by cops to take part in the health care debate.

And amazingly, John Carney is still trying to convince us that there are death panels in the health care bill. There are not! There was a totally sensible provision, suggested by Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, to have insurance reimburse doctors for couseling patients and their families about end-of-life decisions and living wills. Thanks to the nimnuts at the Town Hall meetings, it has been removed. Thank you, conservative right.

Peter Feld is a writer and content strategist, a former Democratic political consultant and ex-market research director at Conde Nast Publications. He taught political polling and strategy in NYU’s graduate Political Campaign Management program, and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UC Berkeley. He has written for Ad Age, the New York Post, Gawker, Radar, and Cookie. This post originally appeared at Six Degrees of Peter Feld.

John Carney’s rebuttal

compiled by Robert Quigley.

Panel Nerds: Two Cents on Online Entertainment Content

panelnerds-i-disagree-sirWho: Adam Elend (Bright Red Pixels), Heather Gold (The Heather Gold Show), Colin Moore (IFC), Diane deCordova (Next New Networks), Paul Kontonis (For Your Imagination) and Dina Kaplan (, moderated by Manoush Zomorodi (Reuters)

What: Media Bistro’s Producing Online Entertainment Content

Where: Tribeca Cinemas

When: August 19, 2009

Thumbs: Up

Of one point, all six panelists agreed: It’s difficult to be successful online. They consented on that point, even though they had different definitions of success. Whatever you set out to achieve — whether you want to make money, hit benchmarks for site visitors, get publicity, build a brand, or just express yourself creatively — online video is an uphill and demanding venture. The most telling moment of the night came when Paul Kontonis was asked “What would you tell someone just starting in online video?” and he replied “Don’t.”

But Kontonis’s fatalist attitude wasn’t shared by all. The panel offered some keys to the trade. Everyone agreed that you must first identify and zero in on your audience. (Kontonis mentioned “The Curse of Any” – If your video is for anyone, it’s for no one.) Each of them had advice for how to create and build something that’s both personal and innovative.

Heather Gold repeatedly stressed the importance of authenticity and doing what you really want to do. Colin Moore focused on building your brand. Adam Elend spoke about intimacy with your audience. Kontonis made the intuitive point that your videos have to be good and engaging. Diane deCordova amplified that by reminding people to make fresh and original videos. And Dina Kaplan said that you have to package it all together with the right look, feel and vibe that sets your videos apart from the millions of others out there.

The audience really wanted to know how to make money with online video. The panel emphasized how different online video is from blogging, where you tend to first work on producing content and worry about revenue later on. For original video, both Elend and Kontonis say they secure sponsors before shooting begins. Dina Kaplan sells shows another way. Her company,, packages 50 niche shows together and tries to sell them as a block to advertisers. The panelists suggested that in order to help attract an audience – and, in turn, advertisers – video producers need to spend half their time on content and half their time on marketing their product. Otherwise, you are better off heeding Kontonis’ warning: Don’t.

What They Said

“How do you make entertainment in a world where looking at a friend’s Facebook album is as entertaining as a TV show?”

- Adam Elend made us happy we weren’t the only ones

“People tend to go right to dollars and numbers. I would encourage you to ignore both of those.”

- Heather Gold has one definition for success

“We’re a network owned by a corporation owned by a corporation. We’re trying to make money.”
- Colin Moore has another definition

“Advertisers are a lot less interested in content than they are in your audience.”
- Dina Kaplan on why it’s important to build your own audience

“Don’t do live (video) unless you can do sports or news.”
- Paul Kontonis is slowly eliminating options of what you should even try

“There is a huge audience out there- 140 million people- watching online video.”
- Diana deCordova explained why video, despite the difficulty, is good to be involved in

What We Thought

  • Manoush Zomorodi did a great job of two things. The first is handling a panel this large. She began by dividing them in two groups, but that boundary quickly disintegrated. The second is offering quick background and explanations for people, sites or programs mentioned. In fact, she set the tone for the panelists to begin explaining things themselves. She was a real audience advocate.
  • It was pointed out a few times, but – it’s the Internet. Every piece of advice the panel gave could soon be obsolete.
  • We seem to be moving closer to the point where you won’t discern between a “network show” and an “online show” when you watch content. We can’t yet fully imagine that world.


Some audience behavior seems to repeat itself panel after panel. We’ll be updating a running list of “PANEL RULES!” that will help ensure that you are not the dweeb of the Panel Nerds.

Panel Nerds don’t like … Crammers

When you’re just haphazardly listing all the online terms and phrases you’re familiar with (SEO, metrics, uh… analytics!), we know what’s going on. You couldn’t get away without doing the reading in school. You still can’t. A better approach – Just ask the question.

Panel Nerds Etan Bednarsh and Danny Groner are New York-based writers and avid panel-goers. Want them at your panel? Email them here:

James Taranto Finds Sexism Hilarious

hillary-clintonI came across WSJ columnist James Taranto’s column from August 12th yesterday in doing research for my post about the Obama/Hitler posters and LaRouchePac. The column focused mostly on why Health Care reform was very very bad and why Barack Obama was insensitive/a hypocrite/shouldn’t joke about serious  things, while otherwise coining the term “Obamalignancy” and making a joke himself about typhoon victims in Taiwan. Ha, ha. Then, halfway down, I saw this:

‘Iron My Shirt!’

* “Clinton Presses India for Climate Change”–headline, United Press International, July 20
* “Clinton Presses NKorea on Denuclearisation, Myanmar Links”–headline, AFP, July 21
* “Clinton Presses Iran for Info on Detained U.S. Hikers”–headline,, Aug. 3
* “Clinton Presses South Africa on Zimbabwean Crisis”–headline, Bloomberg, Aug. 7
* “Clinton Presses Angola to Sweeten Trade Ties”–headline, Associated Press, Aug. 9
* “Clinton Presses Congo on Minerals”–headline, New York Times, Aug. 11
* “Clinton Presses Nigeria on Corruption, Violence”–headline, Associated Press, Aug. 12

Oh ho-ho! Remember that? It was during the New Hampshire primary, and Clinton was speaking at a rally when two hi-larious dudes disrupted it by shouting out “Iron my shirt!” and holding up signs with the same charming slogan. Get it? Hillary Clinton shouldn’t have been running for president, she should have been ironing some dude’s shirt — you know, because that’s what chicks do. It’s funny, last week during Office Hours I went through the litany of carelessly sexist comments about Clinton that were tossed off (and largely dismissed) last year during the campaign — Hillary nutcrackers, “Bros Before Hos” shirts, comparisons to crazy bunny boiling stalkers, anti-Hillary groups with vulgar acronyms, The Cackle, or otherwise likening her to a witch, Mike Barnicle comparing her to a first wife outside a Probate court, Tucker Carlson crossing his legs when he heard her voice, Randi Rhodes calling her a whore, Penn Jillette calling her a bitch, Chris Matthews saying that she only had a career because her husband messed around — but I forgot this one! So thanks to James Taranto for reminding me.

I think Hillary Clinton’s response from a year and a half ago is just as apt today: “Ah, the remnants of sexism — alive and well.”

Related, Even Now:
Hillary Hate: Making Sexism Acceptable [Eat The Press]
Misogyny I Won’t Miss [WaPo]
And What’s Worse Than A Nagging Housewife? [Eat The Press]
“No one is making nutcracker icons of McCain or Obama” [Salon]
Hillary Sexism Watch: Part Eighty-Three [Shakespeare's Sister]

Related In “Really? Seemingly?”:
Clinton Responds to Seemingly Sexist Shouts [USA Today]

SEX WATCH: Lights, Camera, Crack — A Sex Tape With Legs

6a00e54f0a235a8834010536e5e0a5970c-500wiTo date, the Dr. McSteamy sex tape is pushing over 2.25 mil. page view on Gakwer— a refreshing reminder that Internet voyeurs love nothing more than watching celebs have sex … or watching them lie around naked and smoke crack, as the case might be. Today Sex Watch follows Eric Dane, wife Rebecca Gayheart and crack-smoking ex-beauty queen friend Kari Ann Peniche around the Web to see just how far one sex tape can go.

• Tabloid Pick-Up, Us Weekly, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style, Star

Of course all the gossip mags picked-up news of the tape, and Gawker in turn reviewed their coverage of its coverage; the main grading criteria seems to be how well the mags name-checked Gawker and Defamer. It’s a veritable Eiffel Tower of sex tape coverage (and Gawker Media is high-fiving itself over the top, obvi).

• “Fans A-Twitter Over Eric Dane Nude Tape,” People

People wasn’t included in Gawker’s gossip mag roundup because the glossy abstained from jumping on the tape. Gawker’s explanation: “they seemed to have dropped the ball altogether (or just don’t give a fuck).” Instead, People took a thinking man’s approach to the coverage online, following the way the story has evolved on Twitter and in lawyers’ offices.

• “Eric Dane — I Did Not Have Sex With that Woman!” TMZ

On Tuesday, the day after the tape was released, TMZ did some digging to find out how the tape might have leaked.

Kari Ann says the video was stored on the hard drive of her computer, but stolen by Mindy McCready, who was her roommate after the two completed a stint on the TV show “Celebrity Rehab.” Kari Ann says she got into an argument with McCready over money and believes the singer took her hard drive when she moved out. Kari Ann freaked out about certain personal information about her on the hard drive and filed a stolen property report with the LAPD.

We knew Celebrity Rehab had a hand in this. A-ha!

• “Who at Gawker is Cashing in on the McSteamy Sex Video?“ Mediaite

<em>InTouch Weekly</em>.

InTouch Weekly.

Also on Tuesday, Mediaite noted that the video yielded Gawker’s most-viewed post this year. We talked with Gawker managing editor Gabriel Synder, the author of the original post with the video, about who was raking in the newly reinstated page-view bonus for this post.

•  ”Sex Tapes for Profit,” the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz

Howie Kurtz also jumped on the McSteamy traffic train today.

• “Most Infamous Celebrity Sex Tapes,” Chicago Tribune

What better way to welcome a new addition the esteemed ‘Most Infamous Celebrity Sex Tapes‘ club than a slideshow of grainy stills? Plus, we could always use a reminder of how Kim Kardashian got to be famous.

What to Expect from World of Warcraft: The Magazine

wowmagBlizzard, the gaming company behind World of Warcraft, has announced that they are collaborating with special interest publisher Future to launch a 148-page, advertisement-free quarterly magazine based on the enormously popular game. This follows the recent news that Sam Raimi will direct a World of Warcraft movie. World of Warcraft: the Magazine will target the 11.5 million subscribers to the online MMORPG — but they may not be eager to pay $40 a year on top of their current monthly subscription fees.

In an era when the print industry is stagnating and magazines are trying to be more like websites, trying to capture online gamers with a print magazine is an ambitious idea. According to CNET News and CrunchGear, WoW: the Magazine will attempt to entice readers with “beautiful game related art,” “behind the scenes access” at Blizzard, and contributions from “a panel of international journalists.” What other innovations might we expect from the upstart gaming magazine?



  • Rather than being able to turn directly to a desired page, readers will have to spend hours traversing every page between themselves and their destination
  • Exhaustive 25-page profile of viral hero Leeroy Jenkins
  • Free promotional sponge bath kit to ensure that readers don’t need to leave room to bathe
  • Groundbreaking voice chat interface will allow readers to swear, hurl racial epithets at other subscribers in real time
  • Collaborative series with newly-launched sister publication wowOwow: the Magazine to focus on gender issues in fantasy gaming, in columns like “Why I Broke it Off With My Guild Master,” and “Is ‘She-Orc’ a Sexist Phrase?”
  • 20% of all content will behave antithetically to the pleasurable reading of a magazine, and will only be in Mandarin

Behind-The-Scenes At The Non-Ticking-Bomb MacGruber Movie

forte_8-19MacGruber is moving away from poorly defusing ticking bombs in tight spaces to the wide open of New Mexico, in the screen version of the Satuday Night Live recurring sketch.

We talked to MacGruber himself, Will Forte, this week about the film’s plot, cameos, his new hairdo and more.

Forte and SNL writers Jorma Taccone (pictured, wearing the MacGruber wig) and John Solomon share writing credits on the film, while Lonely Island alum Taccone makes his directorial debut. The team just finished week one of shooting “in and around Albuquerque,” and Forte tells Mediaite: “It’s everything we were hoping for at this point. Four more weeks like this and we’ll be very excited.”

The cast is rounded out by Ryan Phillippe (who plays “Piper”), Val Kilmer in the bad guy role, Powers Boothe plays MacGruber’s mentor and Kristin Wiig reprising her role as “Vicki.” But you won’t see too many similarities between the SNL sketch and the movie.

“It doesn’t have much to do with that,” says Forte. “It’s going to be a lot different than people are thinking. It’s more like our take on an action movie. All of us grew up loving the big, bombastic 80’s action movies, and this is our take on that style.”

Forte, who, as you can tell from the picture, is sporting a newly shaved head to combat the wig and New Mexico heat, says the movie is looking big budget, even without the big budget. “Jorma and our DP Brandon [Trost] are just doing an amazing job. It looks like a $100 million movie, it’s crazy,” he says.

The tentative release date for the film signals a quick turnaround – April 16, 2010. But Forte says, “we’re so focused on doing rewrites and stuff that I don’t really pay attention to that.”

Several wrestling blogs have picked up on the fact that Chris Jericho tweeted he was out filming a scene, and Forte expanded on the WWE cameos. He says Chris Jericho, Big Show, Kane, The Great Khali, MVP and Mark Henry all filmed a few scenes, and will be featured as MacGruber recruits them to be part of his team.

It’s going to be a tight schedule for Forte and the rest of the crew. The movie is set to finish filming September 12, with everyone flying back the next day. On the 14th, Forte, Taccone and the rest of the SNLers begin to work on the new season, as Weekend Update Thursday begins September 17 and the 35th season of SNL premieres on September 26.