Thin Skin: Jindal aide to bloggers and tweeters — shut your traps!

Free speech doesn't mean careless talk^ - NARA...

Free speech doesn’t mean careless talk^ – NARA – 535383 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Robert Mann

I knew that Gov. Bobby Jindal and his staff were intolerant of dissent. Jindal has fired so many people who disagreed with him that we’ve all lost count.

But until now, I assumed that the intolerance extended only to people who work for Jindal, not journalists and bloggers who critique Jindal’s leadership or policies. You know, citizens, who speak out in a democracy in a way that the Founders thought was essential for a strong democracy.

But in Jindal’s world, dissent is not tolerated in any form. But at least they had the good sense to keep their intolerance of citizens’ commentary to themselves.

Until Thursday night, that is.

After engaging with several people on Twitter about the relative worth of charter schools versus public schools, Jindal’s assistant chief of staff and communications director, Kyle Plotkin, had enough of my impertinence.

This was his “smack down” directed at a citizen who was merely expressing an opinion about his boss — the governor — on Twitter.

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And, a few minutes later, Plotkin doubled down on that sentiment with this:

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Let’s give Plotkin the benefit of the doubt. Apparently he has a 14-year-old son who has hacked his Twitter account. (And he clearly does not know how to spell “your.”)

Just contemplate what it means if that’s truly the opinion of the governor’s senior staff — that you shouldn’t speak out or criticize the governor unless you become a candidate for public office. Everyone else, keep quiet. The public sphere isn’t for mere citizens!!

Actually, I have a 14-year-old son. I believe his tweets would be much more mature and circumspect than Plotkin’s.

And, unlike Plotkin, he also knows about the First Amendment.

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19 Responses to Thin Skin: Jindal aide to bloggers and tweeters — shut your traps!

  1. Insider says:

    That’s rich, Mr. Kyle, because Jindal refused to debate his opponents last gubernatorial election. Obviously some politicians are quivering scared and/or mad about the twitter revolution because they can’t control the message like they can with the commercial media, usually owned by someone they can apply pressure to. CB just blogged about Alexander’s crankiness about bloggers and tweeters; way too amorphous to control it seems. Can this mark the blossoming of the Louisiana Spring in our Oil/Banana Republic? Then there’s the other Alexander. Have you seen #lsuprez lately? Either it’s all nonsense, in which case he should have a response and file a lawsuit for libel. Or it’s true, in which case we will become known as Penn State on the bayou for the scale of the scandal and national media attention that will engulf LSU. I am waiting for radio Long Beach to reveal that King and Bobby were cronies in the same social club at Oxford. Well, so long as Fox, CNN, and CNBC spell LSU correctly, the publicity can only help us to achieve our goal of becoming a nationally recognized university.

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    • Heart of Purple and Gold says:

      That reminds me of James Carville’s quip about “Half the crowd in Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night can’t even spell LSU.” He said that out of love for LSU and the culture, of course. I just hope the NCAA doesn’t come down on LSU like they did on Penn State. Alexander is the prez, and such a scandal would raise the issue of a lack of integrity and institutional control, as they call it. So far “Radio Long Beach” has not been picked up on by the local media, such as they are. Let’s pray it stays that way and it all blows over.

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  2. earthmother says:

    Thank God for you and for Tom Aswell, CB and rest, who speak truth to power. Don’t ever, ever, ever become faint of heart. You have the high profile, but we who support your position are legion. And the truth, as we know, will set us free.

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    • Insider says:

      Amen, Earthmother. But please be careful Mr. Bob. The group currently in power downtown and at LSU can do all sorts of things to make your life difficult, tenure or not. And the Anonymensia of the blogosphere might support you digitally using fake names, but how will they support you when your Dean is told to “just follow orders” and “get rid of that guy,” like they did with Ivor von Heerden? LSU might seem like an ivory tower, but it is just as plagued with cronyism as the rest of the public sector in Louisiana.

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    • Magazine Street Dave says:

      Amen.

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  3. JonTB says:

    At least he hasn’t banned you from commenting. Our illustrious District 4 U.S. Congressman John Fleming (R) bans people from commenting on his facebook page if they contradict his thoughts and actions, a blatant violation of our freedom of speech.

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    • Matt Walton says:

      I’m pretty sure the Bill of Rights protects you from tyranny on the part of the Government, and that your “freedom of speech” is not impared by being blocked from commenting negatively on someone’s personal Facebook page.

      Like

      • JonTB says:

        Mr. Fleming is my U.S. Congressman; uses his facebook page as his major forum for informing and discussing issues with those who follow what he is doing and saying; says spends a significant amount of time on responding to comments; uses his staff to monitor and reply; and references his official Congressional website on it. In that the taxpayers pay for all of this time, including his, I hardly think it is a personal facebook page. If he is using it as his personal facebook page, then he and his staff are violating federal work rules by spending personal time while on federal time. He uses it as a constituency page. When he allows those in his district to view his page, but bans them from commenting if they do not agree with him, there is a denial of freedom of speech and he is clearly sending a message that he doesn’t want to hear from anyone who has a different point of view than his and therefore will not allow it. Providing a different point of view is not a negative comment, it is a different point of view.

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  5. Ed Watcher says:

    Didn’t Plotkin move up to Asst. Chief of Staff? Nice example of professionalism he is setting for his subordinates.

    Anyway – I watched this exchange in real time and I thought Plotkin came off as a petulant child. If Jindal and White weren’t always so busy trying to put lipstick on the pig people might halfway consider their “spin.” Hasn’t the 2013 Credo study been out since June? So it took them this long to come up with a positive outcome from that report?

    I think u were making valid points. They just don’t care about the truth – only the muddied water truth.

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  6. Rose says:

    If they could, they would have us on cattle cars shipping out to “the east”.

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  7. Richard Webb says:

    The record of an administration is based upon what it does, not what it says it will do. This administration has a demonstrated history–when they communicate at all, which is rarely–of making sweeping pronouncements about issues and situations, whether or not they have a basis in fact, reason or practicality, then simply repeating them mantra-like as if reiteration will validate them. Sadly, no amount of positive-spin repetition will assuage the dismal record of this administration, particularly in education and health care.

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  8. Pingback: Jindal minions use Twitter to attack pesky bloggers who dare criticize their boss but look like playground bullies instead | Louisiana Voice

  9. mctrucker says:

    The rules are different in the Jindal administration. What he attempts to pass off as a conservative administration is a selfish tyrantical rule. Everyone understands Rodney Alexander’s motive and Jindal’s complicity in leaving Congress just in time for Rodney to spike his state retirement. These are the kinds of actions that have cost the state millions of dollars. Shame on Rodney and shame of Bobby.

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  10. Bob in BR says:

    This appears to be the “party of stupid” actively engaged.

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  11. Pingback: Bad Government, Bad Policy, Bad Poetry: A Louisiana recap written in 6 minutes | lablouisianaboy

  12. gage says:

    Why do they want you to “shut your trap”? Are they afraid you’ll tell us something they don’t want us to know? That’s what it sounds like to me. A dog don’t scratch unless he has a flea.

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    • gage says:

      Also, I’m wondering: Is Plotkin a drinker? Because those tweets sound like someone who’s been drinking.

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