WH tweeting at gnats; Update: White House responds

posted at 8:45 am on July 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When the White House named Jesse Lee as its Director of Progressive Media and Online Response to rebut criticisms on social-networking media, some people argued that the Obama administration had taken a big step toward becoming Big Brother.  At the time, I argued that this was nonsense, and that the White House had a right to respond to criticism — but that Lee’s job was a task better left to the DNC, which traditionally served the role of political response.  Instead of looking hip and timely, attacking Twitter users would make the Obama administration look petty and thin-skinned, and would diminish the seriousness and dignity of the Presidency.  Punching below one’s weight is a strategy that never pays off.

Little did I know just how far below their weight the White House would punch.  Heritage Foundation’s Rob Bluey analyzes Lee’s feed and discovers that 15% of all his rebuttals in the month since he took the job have been directed at one user, and it’s not Jake Tapper, Bret Baier, Chuck Todd, or even Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.  Instead, Lee has spent almost one-sixth of his twitter time rebutting …  Kevin Eder.

Who?

President Obama’s director of progressive media is obsessed with one particular conservative provocateur. Jesse Lee’s duties at the White House include “online response” — and there has been no shortage of responses to one person who routinely communicates with him on Twitter.

Of the 267 tweets written by Lee in just over a month, a stunning 40 of them have been directed at Kevin Eder, a prolific Twitter user with more than 83,000 tweets to his credit. That means 15 percent of Lee’s tweets — from an official White House account no less — have been with Eder.

One such example happened last week in a dispute over the budget.

Eder posted this tweet: “Hmm…it can’t be true that @SenateDems haven’t passed a budget in 790 days and the only plan Obama has is a speech. Right, @jesseclee44?”

To which Lee responded: “@keder @SenateDems Plan is keep negotiating w/ Rs & Ds, not default & trash economy, not voucherize Medicare to fund more tax cuts for rich.”

Lee has tweeted 267 times in five weeks?  That’s a little over 10 tweets a weekday.  Try to pace yourself, Jesse!  How much do taxpayers shell out for Jesse’s position of Director of Progressive Media and Online Response, anyway?  Try $72,000 per year.

By the way, in case you’re offended by my “Who?” question on Eder’s behalf, don’t be.  Bluey asked Eder about Lee, and Eder answered that it’s awfully fun getting the White House goat on such a regular basis.  But he’s as mystified as anyone as to why Lee bothers.  “The White House is legitimizing me,” Eder told Bluey, “and quite literally, I’m nobody.”

Lee will have to pick up his pace today.  Barack Obama will hold a Twitter “town hall” this afternoon, moderated by Twitter co-founder (and Obama supporter) Jack Dorsey.  People can ask questions by using the hashtag #AskObama.  Hot Air readers are definitely encouraged to propose their own questions to the town hall.  Perhaps you can add @jesseclee44 to the tweet in order to take some of the load off of Keven Eder, too.

Update: As if to prove my point

@jesseclee44 Wed 06 Jul 08:34: Anybody got a list of “gnats” vs non-gnats? I shant sully myself w/ rabble any longer: bit.ly/pDOzYx cc @EdMorrissey

@EdMorrissey Wed 06 Jul 08:36: #AskObama ! RT @jesseclee44: Anybody got a list of “gnats” vs non-gnats? I shant sully myself w/ rabble any longer: http://bit.ly/pDOzYx

@jesseclee44 Wed 06 Jul 08:39: .@EdMorrissey Well if we had one already I wouldn’t have to ask. #crowdsource

That’s about 20% of Jesse’s daily output.  I feel honored.

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Comment pages: 1 2

HalJordan on July 6, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Ouch. I wonder if David Leisure feels hardest hit.

Freelancer on July 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM

10 tweets per day, ~ 3500 tweets per at $72,000 per year, means about $20 a tweet. Where can I get a job like that?

parke on July 6, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Well, you’re obviously too racist, for starters.

TexasDan on July 6, 2011 at 12:26 PM

There was a twitter recently appearing over at NRO that says that David Brooks was seen heading from the WH press room over to the West Wing. Is Brooks getting more talking points to trash the Republicans.

onlineanalyst on July 6, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Either that or he was hoping to critique the crease in Obama’s boxers as well.

Kataklysmic on July 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Kevin Eder, a prolific Twitter user with more than 83,000 tweets to his credit.
This guy sounds like he needs a hobby.

Del Dolemonte on July 6, 2011 at 9:44 AM

It may very well be his hobby. If so, he is VERY, VERY good at it; I follow him on twitter..

TN Mom on July 6, 2011 at 12:32 PM

#askobama since your favorability rating is now underwater is Michelle still proud of her country?

Kataklysmic on July 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Good one.

#askobama What are your “profit and earning ratios” telling you about your economic policies, Mr. President.

#askobama Contrast and compare being President and being a community organizer.

petefrt on July 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Punching below one’s weight is a strategy that never pays off.

IMO, ‘dignified contempt’ is the best attitude to take towards anything anybody ‘tweets’ on Twitter.

Knott Buyinit on July 6, 2011 at 12:47 PM

iowahawkblog David Burge

#askobama On behalf of the entire US population: dude, WTF?

Chip on July 6, 2011 at 12:50 PM

#askobama Contrast and compare being President and being a community organizer.

petefrt on July 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM

In one position you command a large group of angry thugs with an “ends justify the means” mentality. In the other one, you work in the community.

Kataklysmic on July 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Sorry, that should have been in quotes:

iowahawkblog David Burge

#askobama On behalf of the entire US population: dude, WTF?

Chip on July 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Kataklysmic on July 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

That’s about it, isn’t it.

petefrt on July 6, 2011 at 12:54 PM

That means 15 percent of Lee’s tweets — from an official White House account no less — have been with Eder.

Data is a bitch.

pedestrian on July 6, 2011 at 1:06 PM

I don’t have a question for him, but I have one for you. What good is it to ask a LIAR a question? You already know the answer will be a lie.

Ricohoc on July 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Twitter, without exception, is moronic and makes the twits who use it look like morons. Random thoughts simply are neither interesting or important. Then there is the tendency for the twits to uni-focus, as this thread topic demonstrates.

pat on July 6, 2011 at 1:10 PM

man the lsm is nauseating…they are just giddy that he is doing this…

all hail dear leader

cmsinaz on July 6, 2011 at 1:19 PM

That’s about 20% of Jesse’s daily output. I feel honored.

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Sullied works too…
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RalphyBoy on July 6, 2011 at 1:20 PM

If I ever needed validation for refusing to involve myself with Twitter, this is it. Nobody has yet been able to tell me exactly what I’m missing by not participating.

On one level I totally agree with you, but on another I have to remind you that this is why the left has won the culture war for the last generation plus. We NEED to get in there and fight the battle where people will see it, we can’t just sit back a la GWB and assume that better ideas will make themselves manifest. When you have twenty people of some sort of “authority” telling people the opposite of what they see, they will believe that authority rather than their own experiences.

Our more active trolls here at HA commonly state things as truth that are completely NOT true or at best a gross misstatement of reality. If we aren’t on Twitter, FB, and every other possible medium, refuting and rebutting the lies, what are people going to believe? If they NEVER hear anything else, they’ll assume WE are wrong, and THAT’s how the left has won that cultural fight over the last 50 years.

We cannot allow that to continue. We need to take their tools and use them against the ideas that are bringing our country to her knees. We need to fight back, and if that means making someone like the Twitter daddy rich, so be it. It’s either that or come up with your own way to communicate with masses of people. Conservatives need to stop lambasting those in the media, education, entertainment, etc. and dive into the belly of the beast ourselves. And while not all of us can do it, we absolutely should be supporting those–Breitbart comes to mind–who do.

Bob's Kid on July 6, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Twitter, without exception, is moronic and makes the twits who use it look like morons. Random thoughts simply are neither interesting or important. Then there is the tendency for the twits to uni-focus, as this thread topic demonstrates.

pat on July 6, 2011 at 1:10 PM

I’m not sure twitter means what you think it means Pat. I guess your comment is not a random thought though?
Way to insult the 10s of thousands of people that use twitter, I know that would have been harder with just 140 characters.

JusDreamin on July 6, 2011 at 1:34 PM

He’s “twitting” with his parasitic gaggle of “twits”. The shallowness of his rhetoric is overwhelming . . . he talks and talks and talks but says nothing.

rplat on July 6, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Hah, some of my favs

iowahawkblog David Burge
#askobama when you said “days not weeks” did you mean Venusian days? #futurereference

iowahawkblog David Burge
#askobama Math wasn’t your strong suit, was it?

iowahawkblog David Burge
#askobama subtract Malia’s age from the number of states. Multiply the result by the number of jobs saved or created.

iowahawkblog David Burge
#askobama If you ever had a yard sale, how much would you ask for those styrofoam Greek columns?

Alden Pyle on July 6, 2011 at 2:14 PM

#askobama When will u leave the White House to a responsible adult?

Steve Z on July 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Interesting how it is that “gnats” get posts after pages after posts after pages aimed at them and yet still keep on keepin’ on.

#gnatswatfail

Lourdes on July 6, 2011 at 6:59 PM

#askobama Why have you provided forgeries as “birth certificates” and not a real document?

Where’s the actual birth certificate? Why the forgeries?

Lourdes on July 6, 2011 at 7:00 PM

man the lsm is nauseating…they are just giddy that he is doing this…

all hail dear leader

cmsinaz on July 6, 2011 at 1:19 PM

It’s the epitome of Leftwing propaganda: a guy who hires a guy to “tweet” for the guy who hired him and yet the other players applaud the guy who hired the guy to tweet for him and not the tweeter who tweeted.

Truly theatre of the worst proportions since it involves the U.S. Presidency, utter theatre. No wonder the Leftmedia is wrenched in affection over the feat.

Lourdes on July 6, 2011 at 7:03 PM

And, as to twitter, I blocked both of these accounts a while ago: keder and jesseeclee44. Both of them are what I’d call clutter-twitters and do one thing and one thing well only and that is, clutter up everyone else’s time and resources.

In other words, time-wasters. Same tactic, so-called oppositional interests yet they both seem intent on accomplishing the same thing and that is to tweet far more than is reasonable and to reveal absolutely nothing worth reading.

Lourdes on July 6, 2011 at 7:10 PM

So, let me get this straight: a paid public servant of the POTUS is trashing private citizens for daring to disagree? Joseph Goebbels would be proud. Ill have to add this to my very long list of Obama insults

William Teach on July 6, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Comment pages: 1 2