Newsweek's Bachmann tweeter throws some punches
Newsweek's Andrew Romano landed a weird assignment from his Newsweek editors last week: Fly to Minnesota, follow Michele Bachmann around as she campaigns for re-election in her district, and tweet about it.
Weird not because it involved Bachmann, per se, but because Newsweek is a place one usually turns to for journalism with some wisdom, perspective and nuance (known to right-wingers as moonbat crazy America-hating commie propaganda) -- not twitterific instant gratification.
The perspective -- a sharp jab at the Bachmann campaign cocoon -- comes later.
First he gets on the plane. And pretty soon Romano's up in CD6, doing what any tweeter would do to grab a pile of new followers: Dishes the snark and stashes the second thoughts.
"I sounded, in other words, like a kneejerk Bachmann hater. But that wasn't really the case; I hadn't spent enough time with her to decide if she was unserious, or crazy, or whatever," he writes in retrospect. "Instead, I was simply doing what Twitter demanded: being pithy and provocative. Straightforward narration would go unnoticed. Quotes from Bachmann's old friends would seem un-newsy. Nuance would cost too many characters. So I became a color commentator."
Bachmann asks "Why did the govt bailout GM but not Ford?" Well, because, Ford didn't need--or want--a bailout.
Every question asked of #Bachmann today was submitted via notecard. This is unusual. When a voter in Monticello spoke out, MB stiffed him.
"#Bachmann "Nothing like being armed w/ knowledge so we can make the best possible decisions" #irony?"
Re Jesus+public funds http://bit.ly/9ouEuY. Not that it stopped MB from mentioning God today @ secular PACT Charter. I counted 16 shout outs
He noticed City Pages was following him, as were other reporters and politicos: "As the project wore on, the local press took notice, and my list of followers grew to include much of Minnesota's political class."
The price of such instantaneous quips? He gets frozen out -- and tweets about it -- on an interview with his subject because, as surely as Bachmann's challengers were following, so were her allies.
"Around 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon--an hour or two before I was scheduled to fly from Minneapolis to Washington, where Bachmann had agreed to sit for an interview the following morning--I received an e-mail from the congresswoman's office saying that she no longer had any time for me. I offered to come by Wednesday afternoon, or Thursday, or to speak by phone. Sorry, her people said. She's just too busy."
Romano takes no prisoners.
"I'd initially believed that Bachmann, love her or hate her, was emblematic of a new, niche-media breed of politician," he writes. "But it turns out that she's just a louder-mouthed version of the old model: happy to attack her opponents from afar, happy to play the victim, but unwilling to engage, mano a mano, with anyone she deems insufficiently friendly. What Twitter revealed about Bachmann is that she's not democratic enough for Twitter--or the new era it embodies."
Here's Bachmann, from the Fox News cocoon:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.