social media

He’s back: Sethi’s social media footprint restored

We’ve had a bit of fun at unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi’s expense both in the print and blog editions of The Tennessee Journal for the unexplained wiping of his social media footprint after losing the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

But just as suddenly as Sethi’s Twitter and Facebook pages disappeared following the Aug. 6 primary, they’re back online in all their glory (his Instagram, however, remains AWOL).

UPDATE: We’re informed that the social media accounts were taken down while Sethi mulled changing his handles now that the campaign is over.

Like it never happened? Sethi scrubs social media accounts

Following his disappointing showing in the Republican nomination contest for the U.S. Senate, former candidate Manny Sethi’s campaign has taken the unusual step of scrubbing his social media accounts from the internet.

Gone are Sethi’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, though some of his ads are still to be enjoyed on his YouTube page.

Sethi, a Vanderbilt surgeon, gained gained 39% of the vote in the Aug. 6 primary, compared with 51% for winner Bill Hagerty, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan. Sethi had sought to characterize Hagerty as being the establishment candidate while he represented the GOP grassroots.

Sethi’s message resonated in some areas of the state (he gained his biggest advantages in Rutherford, Knox, Coffee, Williamson, and Maury counties). But Hagerty blew Sethi out of the water in Shelby County by more than 12,700 votes — enough to negate the 9,429 margin Sethi pulled out over Hagerty in all 12 counties he won.

In all, Hagerty won 83 of 95 counties, including 29 in which the margin was more than 1,000 votes.

In contrast to Sethi’s social media disappearing act, former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who lost a bruising race to U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) in 2018, has kept his Twitter account. It still touts his highest profile endorsement of the race: that of pop superstar Taylor Swift.

House committees banning live streaming by members

Republican members vote during a House GOP caucus meeting in Nashville on Nov. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

As reported by The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison, live streaming of legislative proceedings by members is being banned in several House committees.

House Speaker Glen Casada’s office says he’s leaving the decision up to the chairs of each committee, but the policy will also extend to the House floor — and to the visitors in the gallery.

“The chairmen that are choosing to do this are choosing to do so in order to make the legislative process run more smoothly both for themselves and for the public,” Casada’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren told the newspaper.

Commerce Chairman Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) said he was imposing the policy because he didn’t want committee members to be distracted by a colleague using social media to “prove a point.” Some members last year used social media to try to intimidate others, he said.

The change comes after a rule change pushed by Casada to eliminate speechifying on the House floor. The House Republican Caucus, which has enough members to decide new laws without the input of a single Democrat,  has also decided to close its caucus meetings to the public.

UPDATE: Statement from Casada’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren:

House session and committee hearings are and will continue to be shown on the General Assembly’s website and on public television stations across the state. If someone actively violates House policy by disrupting the legislative process — through unruly live-streaming, blatant disregard for decorum, or disrespect of members or the public — they will be removed from the area. Legislators, stakeholders, and those visiting to see government in action must be allowed to do work and enjoy their time without unneeded and senseless disruption. Speaker Casada fully supports his chairmen in their decisions to run their committees as they best see fit.