Monday, August 1, 2011

The Gawker Story (Update: NBC's Social Media Director tried to correct Gawker shortly after story's release.)

This afternoon, Gawker, a self-described gossip site, published a story alleging that many of Newt's Twitter followers were fake. Their "source" was allegedly a former Gingrich staffer who, of course, would not go on the record.

Newt's spokesman, R.C. Hammond, tweeted tonight: "@Newtgingrich's 1.3 million followers are legitimate. @Gawker 's "source" is not. Story untrue."

Then some other staffers -- and a former one -- had some fun with the story:

Steve Everley, who used to work at American Solutions but is now not in politics (just energy policy issues), tweeted: "The question isn't "are Newt's followers legitimate?" but rather "who still reads Gawker?"

Tim Cameron tweeted at the author of the story: ".@johnjcook when u were writing that story on Newt didn't it seem a little off to u? Like wouldn't these 'companies' be on FEC disclosures?"

Adam Waldeck: "curious if this was the "former gingrich staffer" gawker talked to on their twitter story." He then posted this picture:


curious if this was the "former gingrich staffer" g... on Twitpic

Newt 2012 Intern Adam Savader: "I can't stand listening to people refer to Gawker's @johnjcook as a reporter, journalist, columnist, or writer. The man is a hack!"

(If you are not already following them on Twitter, please do so.)

(Update: The aforementioned Cameron found out that Ryan Osborn, the social media director at NBC News, tweeted to the author of the Gawker story: "Newt was on Twitter's Suggested List which is how his account gained most of its followers." Undeterred by facts, the author does not retract any of the story.)

(Another update: Jacob Hawkins of Newt's campaign brought attention to a story that Osborn linked to in which the "Suggested Users" feature is described.)

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