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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wyden's Top Staffer Checks Healthcare Tweets

Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 5:04 PM

It turns out that even Chiefs of Staff for US Senators check Twitter feeds. Especially when the Tweets are related to a story about their boss fighting with the President by not supporting his desire for a national public health insurance plan.

I sent Blue Oregon bloggers Todd Barnhart and Carla Axtman a link to my story on Oregon Senator Ron Wyden's health plan yesterday, hoping they'd link it and generate some discussion of Senator Wyden's resistance among Oregon's progressives. Barnhart blogged about the story later on, Twittering, simultaneously, that this was the "second time in a week" he had "blogged under direct orders from @mattdavis999." It's true. Barnhart blogged last week about the Mercury & Bus Project's Brewhaha event on health care. Although I wouldn't say I "ordered" him to. I simply asked nicely, as you do. Indeed, Barnhart agrees: "My tweets are always informal. it's a good place to tweak people, get snarky (how much harm can you do in 140 chars?), etc."

Evidently a little "tweaked," in Barnhart's words, Wyden's chief of staff, Josh Kardon, responded in the comments on Barnhart's post as follows:

So the author told you to post his article on BlueOregon? Isn't that a little odd? Here's your tweet:

"tabarnharthttp://tr.im/nZpY 2nd time in a week i have blogged under direct orders from @mattdavis999"


He then wrote about Wyden's position on healthcare before concluding:
I question whether "pushing" is the role of any news journalist, so I trust you got Matt's intent all wrong, T.A. Pushing members of Congress also does not work -kind of like torture.

It's nice to see Kardon keeping up with modern technology, and mixing with the commoners in a spirit of dialog and fun. I guess my first concern is that he still isn't following ME on Twitter, and it's been a good 20 hours since he knew my Twitter ID. There's also a huge conversation that has been going on for years about the role of journalists for alternative newsweeklies and whether "pushing" is ever an appropriate use of our time. I don't think I could weigh in cogently on that debate without boring you to tears, but let's just say I believe "pushing" and having an opinion are different things. And on this subject I certainly have some pushy opinions.

Feel free to Tweet me your opinions on Senator Wyden's attitude to a public health insurance option as the debate moves forward. Should he support one? Shouldn't he? What's that? Yes, he should? Here's hoping we can use Twitter to convince our senior Oregon senator to do the right thing and support a national public health insurance option!

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