And The GOP New Media King Is…

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After much anticipation, the GOP House Conference has finally released the names of the winners of its six-week “new media” challenge, in which members competed to see who could sign up the most new Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers. In a hotly contested championship final, Louisiana Rep. John Fleming emerged Wednesday as the winner (1st prize: an iPhone), followed by Georgia’s Phil Gingrey (flip phone) and Lamar Smith from Texas, who seems to have gotten a bit of a booby prize for coming in third (a set of steak knives as a symbol of the need for the GOP to be on the “cutting edge” of new media).

The challenge netted the House Republicans a pretty nice foothold in the social media sphere, with 11,000 new Twitter followers, 30,000 new Facebook fans, and 1100 new YouTube subscribers. The contest was apparently so successful that it prompted the Democrats to launch their own competition to try to close the fan gap, which is significant. When the GOP started its new media challenge, 79 percent of House GOP members were already on Facebook but only 39 percent of Dems were, and only 20 percent of Democratic House members were tweeting, compared with 64 percent of Republicans. The disparity apparently shamed House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi into getting on the Twitter. She still has a ways to go to catch up with her Republican counterpart, Minority Leader John Boehner, who has nearly 44,000 Twitter followers. Perhaps the possibility of winning some steak knives might spur some ferocious tweeting.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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