Rep. Cohen: I Gamed Politwoops to Get Out Message


Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops catches deleted tweet from Rep. Steve Cohen (D - TN)Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., says he recently utilized the Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops site that monitors deleted tweets from politicians to stage an elaborate trick on the media (or ethics lesson, depending on how you see it), saying, “The best way to get a message out is to tweet and delete.” The quote, documented by Washington Post and Politico reporters, came during the press conference Cohen held on Friday afternoon to discuss the recent deleted tweet that read: “@cyndilauper great night,couldn’t believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness.

In a press release issued following the news conference, Cohen said:

“On Tuesday night, the President and Mrs. Obama, along with the Grammys and PBS, hosted a musical tribute to Memphis Soul at the White House. Wanting to promote this great program, which will air this coming Tuesday on PBS, I realized the best way to do this was to tweet and delete. I knew the Sunlight Foundation would highlight the deleted tweet as a Politwoop and knowing how some in the media report deleted Politwoops as nefarious, it occurred to me that a perfectly innocent, factually-correct tweet, once deleted, would receive great media attention. And that is exactly what happened […]”

We’re flattered Politwoops is becoming more a part of the political message machine, but this is hardly the first time deleted tweets surfaced by Politwoops were deleted specifically to appear in Politwoops. Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif.,  gave a holiday greeting by politwooping “Merry Christmas to Byron and the politwoops crew” and Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Penn., once deleted “This one is for Politwoops.” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep David Schweikert, R-Ariz., even tried to turn Politwoops into a hashtag, saying “You know what else has been deleted? Jobs in the Obama economy. Where are the jobs? #politwoops” and “Wish #politwoops would hold Obama and Holder accountable for their missing facts on #FastandFurious just as it does missing tweets.” As members of Congress learn about the existence of Politwoops, we’ve seen tweets simply readingtest” which may imply they are checking if the site tracks their particular accounts. Politwoops is a project to document messaging changes from politicians and it’s fascinating to see how the site’s role has developed since launching last May, including being named one of the 50 Best Websites of 2012 by TIME Magazine.

For things politicians can’t delete, check out their Influence Explorer and Party Time profiles to see who gives them money or holds fundraisers for them.

Update: Cohen’s statement on deleted tweets is surfaced by Politwoops after the tweet was deleted:

My statement on deleted tweets #CyndiLauper #MemphisSoul