Another beautiful morning at CPAC, another beautiful digital clusterfuck.
CPAC organizers are trying to encourage digital literacy by urging participants to get involved via social media, specifically Twitter and Snapchat (on Wednesday, CPAC 2015 followed me back on Snapchat and it felt very weird). This morning, they introduced the hashtag #CPACQ, which theoretically, people could ask CPAC speakers like Dr. Ben Carson and Opposite-Of-Doctor Sarah Palin questions. While the idea might have worked in a magical land of Christian unicorns who poop sincerity rainbows and belch earnestness, this is the internet, the land of disgruntled and unfulfilled time wasters who love an opportunity to Get Snotty. And things went exactly as you'd expect they would.
Within minutes, the hashtag had gone giddily careening off the rails.
Yesterday, as you may recall, CPAC officials Got Into It with reporters who suggested that somebody had accidentally put a photo of Senator Tim Scott (who is black) alongside CPAC's official speaker bio for Dr. Ben Carson (who is also black), eventually accusing the Washington Post reporter who discovered the gaffe of agenda-driven photoshopping. They've got some 'splaining to do, as the sort of "photoshop" that the reporter is accused of pulling off is actually quite complicated. So it seems CPAC maybe played victim rather than own up to a regrettable and embarrassing error. Where have I heard that narrative before. Where. I'm going to have to put on my thinking cap to get to the bottom of this one.
At any rate, I'm happy to report that Anna Merlan and I are still alive and made some friends yesterday, including an almost stupefyingly polite freshly post-collegiate libertarian who tried to convince me that I am also a libertarian and then proceeded to argue with me about abortion for 20 minutes while Anna, bored and drunk off the fanciest plate of hummus she'd ever seen, stared at her phone and waited for both of us to tire ourselves out. Nice fellow. Great times being had here at the (not a joke) Gaylord Hotel and Conference Center. Make sure to use the hashtag if you have any questions.
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