Senator Feinstein’s Missed Opportunity


Senator Feinstein

By Becky Hogan

Senator Dianne Feinstein has been one of the strongest supporters of the NSA’s surveillance activities. But when news broke of U.S. spying on the country’s allies, she changed her tune.

In a statement this week, Feinstein condemned spying on America’s allies.  She said she was “totally opposed” to such efforts and concerned  that President Obama did not know about them until recently.

The California Senator also released an NSA “reform” bill Thursday.  Feinstein claims the measure would increase privacy protections and congressional oversight of the program, but preserve activities she deemed vital to preventing terrorist attacks.

The NSA story and the woes of the Obamacare exchange website have been competing for national news coverage all week.  Earlier in the week, Feinstein was even outpacing coverage on the Affordable Care Act.

Feinstein in the News

It’s rare that one of Obama’s staunchest allies would take a stance against the Administration, and as a result she’s seen quite a bit of media coverage on the issue.  But she hasn’t taken to social channels to advocate her cause.

This could be a missed opportunity for Feinstein.  She has not posted to her Facebook or Twitter accounts which means that her position on the NSA surveillance program has been overlooked on social media–simultaneously, her national media coverage has been on the decline since Wednesday.

NSA vs Feinstein

While the National Security Agency has seen an increase in Facebook Talked Abouts everyday this week, Feinstein’s Talked Abouts have been declining.  One of the most common ways lawmakers extend media coverage is by taking to social media to fuel support and discussion on the issues they are championing.

Of course Feinstein is a veteran Senator with a reputation for being outspoken on issues she cares about even when she’s at odds with fellow Democrats. But by neglecting to use social media channels to champion her position on NSA snooping, she isn’t maximizing her online influence–especially compared to other Senators.

A staunch proponent of increasing gun control,  Feinstein’s assault weapons ban lost in the Senate in September and she blamed the Senate for shirking it’s responsibility.  We’ll be watching to see whether she uses ramps up her social media this time around to drum up public support for reigning in the NSA.

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