Here was Rep. Jessica Haak’s (D-Jamestown) Twitter feed as of a few minutes ago:
Earlier today, during the debate over Rep. Mark Dosch’s school choice bill, Rep. Haak was claiming on Twitter that Republicans were “bashing public schools.” That was demonstrably untrue, as anyone who watched the debate knows (video here), and I referenced Haak’s accustations in my post about the bill and the vote.
I don’t know if that’s what prompted Rep. Carlson to speak with Haak about her posts, but clearly the “Nazi” reference was extremely inappropriate.
But here’s a question: Should legislators be allowed to Tweet and make other posts to social media from the floor of the House? I think it’s wrong for Carlson to tell legislators they can’t. Legislators can text and email from the floor (I actually spend a lot of time communicating with legislators that way during floor debates), and it’s not like anybody is ever stopped from napping during session or in committee hearings, so why not post Tweets and other social media updates?
If they post something immature and inappropriate, as Rep. Haak did, then hold them accountable for it. But don’t cut off this fast and easy form of communication for all legislators because one abused it.
Update: A Republican legislator tells me that Democrat leadership is “scrambling” and that if it were a GOP legislator the media would put the story on the front page.
Update: The Republican legislator referenced above is right. Get a load of Bismarck Tribune reporters Nick Smith and Jenny Michael commiserating with Rep. Haak on Twitter:
Update: Rep. Haak has now apologized:
The term I used in a previous post is oftenthrown around carelessly. I regret my error and apologize to MajorityLeader Al Carlson
— Jessica Haak (@jesshaak) February 27, 2013
Meanwhile, anyone else remember when the Democrats flipped out about Valley News Live anchor Chris Berg referenced Hitler’s “big lie” when talking about former House candidate Pam Gulleson? It got a ton of media coverage. Something tells me the media won’t react the same way this time around.
Because Haak votes the right way, so it’s different.