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Articles by Donald E. L. Johnson

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Today is Thursday, April 24, 2014

Marketing and Sales

Is Rep. Cory Gardner’s campaign against Sen. Mark Udall off to a slow start? GOP death wish?

Rep. Cory Gardner seems to be off to a slow start in his campaign to unseat Sen. Mark Udall. Udall is showing his confidence by declaring that he would vote for ObamaCare again, restating his opposition to fracking and the Keystone pipeline and claiming falsely that climate change causes forest fires. Here is what worries me about the Gardner campaign:

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 04/19/14 at 09:06 AM
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Cory Gardner, Scott Gessler, Tom Tancredo need strong web sites, Facebook pages

Republicans Cory Gardner, Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo need strong web and Facebook pages. Gardner's new web site for his senate campaign isn't up because he hasn't officially announced, yet. Gessler's web page is even weaker than Tancredo's, and that's not saying much. Campaign consultants favor fundraising priorities for their candidates' web sites over content that sells them to activists and voters. Take a look at their sites, which are pitifully shallow, take voters for granted and show no respect for voters who want to see where they stand on the issues.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 03/01/14 at 08:11 AM
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How farmers can get more folks up to date on agriculture

Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, warns that if rural America, or farmers, don't become more like other Moocher Nation Democrats, they'll lose even more influence in Washington, according to the left-leaning Associated Press story pubished on My comment on the story:

As the owner of a farm, I know that farmers are a big part of the Moocher Nation. We get our crop subsidies, government money to improve our land and nice tax credits for all kinds of things like having kids and getting home mortgages. 

At the same time, the mostly Red States that gave the GOP control of the House are more rural than most Blue states. So farm states still have some clout.

The problem is that folks like Sen. Grassley (R-IA), a corn and beans farmer, defends and advocates Moocher Nation ag subsidies like ethanol, which are a huge indirect tax on urban American and rural America alike. Ethanol and wind power scams and ag subsidy programs, which is a lot of members of Congress are responding to voters demands that ethanol and wind power programs be cut from the Federal budget.

Now, the federal money and ethanol money is nice to have and hard to give up.

That farmers work for every penny is described in a wonderful book, Farm, a year in the life of an American farmer, by Richard Rhodes. 

Agribusinesses should distribute Rhodes' book to every high school and college English teacher in the country and offer free copies to teachers who want to assign it to their students. And farmers should make sure that English and lit teachers in their high schools and community colleges assign the book to every student.

At the same time, the book should be distributed in lots of 10 to every Congressional office and all of the employees of the USDA, EPA and Commerce Dept. Those folks are readers. Give them a good read.

Econ books have used the grain markets to demonstrate the principles of supply and demand. The agribusiness world should encourage this and promote more ag econ teaching in community colleges and colleges.

Too see how high tech and complicated farming is, check out Iowa State University's curriculum for its ag majors. 

Meanwhile, the Sec. of Agriculture is just unhappy that his wife lost her run for Congress in Iowa and that farmers put aside their personal financial interests and voted for their country and Romney, not for Divider-in-Chief Obama.

Maybe the farm bill would have a better chance if it didn't include so much spending on food stamps, which help too many of the near poor as the truly poor buy more junk food and bankrupt the country.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/08/12 at 05:28 PM
AgricultureFarmingBooksEducationMarketing and SalesPromotionsPermalink

How political candidates must engage voters online

Republicans are starting to figure out how they can match the Obama campaign's online political machine, Politico reports.  As far as I could tell, the GOP had and has no online game. They're starting from zero. My thoughts:

1. Find and support bloggers and commenters who can compete with Obama's online advocates and thugs. Romney got very little online support because he despises the media, bloggers and anyone who can think.

2. Recruit social media candidates, not folks who tweet news releases and polite platitudes the way Mitt Romney did and most Congressional candidates do. 

3. Teach the congressional candidates who can write and who have the smarts to debate online to engage folks on FaceBook, twitter and the comments sections of their local papers and broadcasters.

4. Make sure that candidates write their online posts and are online whenever they aren't fundraising or meeting voters. Social media only works when there are two-way conversations and numerous respondents to candidates'  posts.

5. Exploit databases that allow them to target supporters with relevant content, messages and fundraising appeals.

6. Beef up candidates' web sites. Publish candidates' goals, positions on issues, speeches, articles, and important posts along with supporting documents, bills, laws and regs. Go for the opinion leaders who use the web site4s to identify the candidates they will support.

7. Make sure that everything written, printed, published and said by a candidate includes several hard sales pitches for relevant social media, e-mail and web pages where voters can learn more and talk to the candidates.

8. Make candidates read their Facebook and twitter threads as well as comments about them by readers of sites like Politico, Daily Caller,,,, and on their local media web sites. Connect with voters by engaging them and showing that you have the guts to take risks for them.

9. Show people who comment and blog for a candidate that they're being read and heard by responding to them online and quoting a few of them in speeches and articles. Do something to show you're not in a sound proof, windowless bubble. Get people (not paid pundits or your paid online advocates) excited about being on your team.

10. Get political communications consultants out of the way. We don't believe them nor do we want to hear from them. If a candidate can't give a decent speech, write and engage voters online, that person shouldn't be in politics and will have a hard time winning an election. Ask Mitt Romney. He could give a C speech and write a B article, but he got an F from voters because he didn't engage or communicate with them. He never showed he was learning from the campaign.


GOP seeks to up its online game, by Emily Schultheis

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/08/12 at 04:39 PM
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Facebook, Twitter,,, violate your privacy

Facebook privacy continues to be a problem on, Politico, Daily Caller and other sites. When you recommend an article via FB, you get an opt-in request that says if you use the FB connection, you give or whatever site access to the names of your friends, your profile info and more. The sites sell this info to marketers and spammers.

If you click "don't allow" the connection is cancelled. I don't use the FB connection on because I don't trust News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and Fox News. The comment section also is programmed to invade your privacy and often requires a new log in even though you're logged into It's all very frustrating to me.

Similarly, I don't use's Facebook connection.

FB and the sites that want you to recommend their articles to your FB friends say that they're not violating our privacy because our Friends and profile info are available to anyone who checks us out on FB. I believe only we should know who our FB and Twitter friends are. Our friends' names should be confidential, imho.

I haven't signed up for Google+ because it wants access to all of my info and the right to sell that info just like FB and Twitter do. 

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/25/11 at 11:23 AM
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How the Left used blogs, Facebook and Twitter to attack Ken Buck and how he failed to respond

Ken Buck may lose the U.S. Senate election because he failed to effectively use ads, his debates with Michael Bennet, his web site, e-mails, news releases, blogs, Facebook or Twitter to fight back when the Left used those tools to gin up outrage over a date rape case that he handled professionally, if not as sensitively as he might have.

Chuck Plunkett reviews how the Left used The Colorado Independent, Coloradopols, Facebook and Twitter to spread the made up outrage. My comment on his piece is cross posted with some links below the jump:

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 10/24/10 at 03:43 PM
Campaign MgmtColoradoElections '14BuckPoliticsMarketing and SalesBloggingRead More

Some political bloggers are paid by parties, candidates

I am not paid by anybody to blog. And I don’t accept ads, although I’ve thought about it and discarded the idea because I’m too busy being retired to start another business. Been there and done that.

But the Daily Caller reports some well known blogs take money from candidates and parties. That’s ok if the money buys ads, not blog posts like this one. It’s not ok if a blogger is a consultant to someone the consultant works for. There are a lot of ethically challenge people in politics, business and life as well as among political and nonpolitical bloggers and posters on YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter, etc. 

Readers beware.

LINK: True story of bloggers who secretly feed on partisan cash. By Jonathan Strong.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 08/24/10 at 09:35 PM
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How bloggers, lobbyists can cover Congress from home

Back in the 1970s and 1980s when I was editor of Modern Healthcare and had one and then two reporters working for me in our Washington bureau, I pined to be there. I wanted to dig for stories that I knew we were missing and not breaking. I couldn’t do that from our Chicago office, but now that would be possible, thanks to the Internet and increasing transparency in Congress. 

In How to cover Congress without leaving home, Kelly McBride reports on how a few left wing bloggers are using technology to get ahead of their competitors who are covering Congress on the ground. Her article is must reading for anyone who’s trying to follow important legislation for an employer, trade association or a blog.

Even with the new technology, covering Congress or a state legislature is as hard as it’s ever been. You have to read bills, testimony, letters, articles blogs and anything else, including books, that will help you understand, say ObamaCare, and cap and trade bills. This takes time, but for wonks, it can be a lot of fun, especially when you uncover nuggets that you can use to advance a story or cause or to stop a bad amendment or bill. LINK: How to cover Congress without leaving home. By Kelly McBride.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 07/31/10 at 04:21 PM
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Has Erick Erickson destroyed RedState’s credibility? I think so

Byron York correctly asserts that conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who is backing Colorado’s Ken Buck for the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination, has destroyed his credibility as a blogger and pundit by making up a rumor about a GOP candidate and her accuser in South Carolina.

Erickson wrote on his RedState blog that he knew who paid a blogger to charge a Republican candidate with adultry, and then he admitted that he made up the story.

York concludes:

Why write something he knew wasn’t true? “With apologies to RedState readers,” Erickson wrote, “I’ve had no hesitation in stringing the media along like Folks has done.”  Apparently Erickson’s intent was to call attention to Folks’ nasty tactics and the likelihood that Folks is attacking Haley on behalf of some other player in the South Carolina political world. But sacrificing your own credibility in an effort to undermine someone else’s is not a good idea, and what Erickson has done has surely hurt both his own reputation and that of his website

I’ve never been an Erickson or Red State fan, and I never will be.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 05/30/10 at 12:36 PM
ColoradoPoliticsPPCEthicsTrustMarketing and SalesBloggingPermalink

Why Fox, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS look so biased; journalists are co-oped by political, military sources

While I’m a conservative and report more about Republican politics than I cover Democrats, I also feel free to call out Republicans and conservatives when I think they’re off course. I also interview and cover Democrats when I can. This, of course, upsets conservative readers who expect conservatives, Republicans and journalists and bloggers who share their values to be “loyal.” The same thing goes for Democrats and liberals and the journalists who share their values. When someone fails to follow Obama over the cliff, the dissident is soundly criticized.

In one of the best articles I’ve seen about media bias since I first subscribed to the Columbia Journalism Review back in 1961 or 1962, The Dangers of embedded journalism in war and politics, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius explains why Fox looks biased to liberals and all the other networks and main stream papers look biased to conservatives. Having been a journalist and publisher for more than 45 years and a blogger for more than 7, I totally relate.

Simply put, we’re all human. We remember the last thing we hear or read, and we are much more likely to read and listen to those who reflect our views than those who don’t. I read my first employer, The Wall Street Journal, much more than I read The New York Times or Washington Post, although I read all of their web sites several times on most days. I watch Fox now and then, CNN when there is breaking news and ABC evening news a few nights a week. I never watch MSNBC, NBC or CBS, because I don’t trust them and there’s only so much time available. I read the liberal Coloradopols along with the conservative RockyMountainRight and PeoplesPressCollective. is moderately liberal and my favorite political site because it’s what political leaders from both parties read. In Colorado, The Denver Post’s The Spot is the best political blog for news and gossip. Everybody in Colorado politics is or should be reading it.

The Columbia Journalism Review, however, has become a left wing political journal, and I no longer subscribe to it or read it or its web site.

In any case, read the Ignatius piece. It is right on.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 05/02/10 at 10:31 AM
ColoradoPoliticsPPCEthicsTrustMediaMarketing and SalesBloggingPermalink

Looks like paid bloggers are attacking Jane Norton big time

In an obviously coordinated attack on Republican Jane Norton, bloggers supporting Democrat Michael Bennet and, most likely a few amatures who are supporting Republicans Ken Buck and Tom Wiens, are showing how the comments sections of blogs can be used to spew hatred and lies about their political opponents. These attack artists are making Tea Party activists look like pacifists.

While I can’t prove it, I strongly suspect that 

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 04/22/10 at 03:34 AM
ColoradoPoliticsPPCEthicsMarketing and SalesBloggingRead More

Ken Buck, Jane Norton, Scott McInnis, Dan Maes using Twitter, Facebook

Many of Colorado’s leading candidates for public office are using Twitter and FaceBook as well as their web sites and e-mail to reach and communicate with 

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 02/07/10 at 10:05 AM
ColoradoPoliticsMarketing and SalesBloggingRead More

Conservatives trying to match hard left’s efforts to use bloggers, social networking to gain power

Conservatives in Washington and around the country are trying to match the hard left’s campaigns to capture the minds of America’s voters with the help of bloggers and other activists who use Twitter, FaceBook, e-mail and other new media to spread their talking points, reports Jerry Markon. The left has used similar tactics since Howard Dean burst on the sceneduring the 2004 presidential primaries. Conservatives believe that the left’s use of social networking technology helped President Barack Obama attract some 13 million activists and contributors to his campaign.

The Washington Post story makes it look like

The Business Word blog enters its 8th year

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of The Business Word blog. So now we’re in our 8th year. I posted two stories on Jan. 31, 2003. This is post number 3,310.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 02/01/10 at 07:00 AM
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Ali Hasan plans to run his radio commercial for at least a week

Ali Hasan, a Republican candidate for state treasurer, is running a strong radio commercial on KOA 850’s Mike Rosen show and on the local version of the Glen Beck Show for at least a week, he told me. Then, he’ll assess the results of the advertising and decide whether he will continue to air the commercial. If you can’t catch Hasan’s commercial on the radio, he is making it possible to hear it on his web site.

Speaking of web sites, I’m wondering why politicians don’t use their radio and TV commercials to invite viewers and listeners to go to their web sites for more information?

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/27/10 at 06:10 AM
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