We’re less than three months from a very important election day and we don’t think anyone has any illusions about how brutal the next ninety days will be. With so much riding on the outcome of the Presidential, Congressional, and local races, the only thing we know for sure is that the tone is going to get ugly. And fast. It’s the reality of American politics, unfortunately. We can’t control the overall tone that this election will take but we can control how we react to it and what we add to it.
With that in mind, we wanted to take this opportunity to say a bit about how we manage this page (and the related accounts) and select the information we share with you on a daily basis. Managing this page takes time, obviously, but it also takes a strong understanding of who we are as citizens and the kind of political discussion we want to be associated with. So before we go any further into this election year madness, we want to share with you our list of the five things we try NOT to do when choosing content for this page.
5 Things We Try NOT To Do:
- Give coverage to the media talking heads who peddle “outrageous statement of the day” politics. – Scroll through our page’s history and you’ll notice a distinct lack of content mentioning Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, or Bill Maher. There’s a reason for this. We don’t think these and many of the other talking heads actually contribute anything meaningful to political discourse in this country. More often, they are in the business of self-promotion and their main tactic is to say something inflammatory in order to outrage a large group of people, and have that statement be repeated throughout the media echo chamber. The ultimate goal, in many cases, seems to be to keep their names front and center in the media consciousness, at the expense of lawmakers and actual issues. The result is a population of citizens who may know that they disagree with Beck or Maher, but have no idea where their own elected officials stand or vote on any given issue. This makes no sense to us. We believe in holding the lawmakers accountable, not the talking heads. While boycotts of certain egregious media offenders have their place, our primary concern is typically directed at those who make the laws.
- Target the spouses, children, and other family members of candidates and elected officials. – Candidates and lawmakers choose to run for office and accept the increased media scrutiny that comes with that decision. They are employed by their constituents so any activities that can impact how they fulfill (or fail to fulfill) that commitment to their employers is fair game as far as we are concerned. However, for the most part, what their family members do, say, read, or buy is not and that information typically has no place on our page. The exception to this, of course, is whether what that family member does creates a conflict of interest for the candidate or lawmaker. We have major issues with reporters following a candidate or lawmaker’s children to the mall to see what they are buying. We do not have issues with reporters writing a story about lobbying work that a candidate’s spouse or family member has done that overlaps with pertinent taxpayer issues. In addition, we believe in treating adult family members as adults and leaving underage family members out of the media spotlight. The media needs to have a damn good reason to report on the activities of a politician’s young children or grandchildren.
- Stray too far from our women’s rights focus. – There are a lot of political issues we are passionate about, not just women’s rights. And though we know that many of you out there likely share our views on some of these issues, we do try to keep most of our content focused on news and commentary involving gender equality and reproductive freedom in the United States. Our mission at the start of this project was to cover these issues and thoroughly and as respectfully as time and the social media tools would allow. To include the dozens of other issues we care about (the environment, gay rights, poverty, education, etc.) would limit our ability to fulfill that mission. We do however, like to take the time to acknowledge those who are covering those issues in social media in the same way we follow women’s rights. We try to support them with links and feedback whenever possible. Also, in acknowledgement that we are now more connected as a global society than at any point in human history, we try to post content about international women’s rights issues on regular basis. We believe women’s rights are human rights, no matter where on the planet you happen to be.
- Spread false information or bad facts. – Information moves faster then ever on social media, news outlets compete fiercely to break news, often at the expense of fact checking, and there is a small but active percentage of people who knowingly spread false information about political opponents. Therefore, as curators of information, we have to be careful, skeptical, and thorough in choosing what we share. What do we do to make sure that we don’t give you bad information? We follow three basic guidelines: we try to stick with reputable news sources, we verify quotes, events, and stats with multiple media outlets whenever possible, and we try cite our sources with active links so our followers can check things out for themselves. Are we always perfect? Not by a long shot, but if we mess up, we tell you and we encourage you to tell us when you think we’ve messed up.
- Pretend to be non-partisan. – We have a point of view. A liberal one. We’ve never made any attempt to conceal this from our followers and we’re certainly not going to start now. Most of the lawmakers we support tend to be Democrats and most of the ones we disagree with tend to be Republicans, though there are some exceptions. The beauty of the size of the social media world is that there are people doing what we do, with as much passion as we do it, from a conservative viewpoint. That is their right. Anyone who disagrees with our viewpoint is free to do so respectfully and/or to seek out those places that share their viewpoint. We don’t stand for trolling, name calling, or any other such nonsense. The “ban” button exists for a reason and we use it when we need to. The Internet is big enough for all views. These happen to be ours. We believe the real enemy of a republic is not the group on the other side of a given argument, it’s the apathy of its citizens.
So with those principles in mind, onto the conventions, the debates, and the election. We’ve got some exciting content planned for the next three months and we look forward to sharing it with you!