Gov. Eric Greitens uses many faces on social media, probably hates yours
Missouri’s action-figure governor has assiduously copied some of President Donald Trump’s most effective plays, especially when it comes to advancing a deeply cynical personal brand. Both demagogues rely on a confrontational persona — and both men display an absolute unwillingness to consider, let alone accept, criticism.
On social media, this translates to talking louder than everybody else, and blocking those who disagree. Whether it’s constitutional for an elected official to block a fellow user of Facebook or Twitter isn’t a legally settled matter. But it doesn’t pass the smell test, even in Missouri.
Yesterday, Tessa Weinberg at the Columbia Missourian put up a great story detailing Greitens’ latest attempts to thwart the state’s sunshine laws. Here’s the inevitable part when a couple of the he-guv’s flacks uncork a brown wash of doublespeak to keep the boss’s actions secret:
Sarah Madden, special counsel for the Governor’s Office, rejected the Missourian’s records request, in part because she said Greitens had created the Facebook and Twitter accounts before he took office. She wrote that as a result, “neither are considered official state accounts.” She did not address the governor’s use of those social media sites for town halls and official announcements.
Madden also wrote that “no individuals have been blocked from any official social media account administered by this office,” but she did not list what accounts she was referring to.
The Missourian sent a list of questions to Parker Briden, the governor’s spokesman. He did not address them directly but sent a short text.
“Like many governors around the country, Gov. Greitens uses social media to communicate with people,” Briden said. “That includes accounts created long before he ever ran for office, and different state-maintained accounts — which have been in the works for some time.”
Weinberg had no trouble finding someone who had, in fact, been virtually stiff-armed by the governor. In July, Patsy Roach tweeted: “I got blocked from Greitens Facebook page.” Turns out Greitens doesn’t like a certain emoji:
By blocking Roach — an old-school writer of actual letters who demanded accountability — this least transparent of governors inadvertently revealed a weakness. Now everyone knows that the puke emoji bugs him. Lock and load, you guys.