Wrong, way reelin’ in Alaska
Oh, the dangers of social media.
So many have gotten in so much trouble for letting their fingers run out of control on the keyboard or posting that photo that spoke the proverbial 1,000 words that shouldn’t have been said.
So here come’s Rep. Mary Peltola, the state’s lone Congresswoman, with the political public relations blunder of the summer.
Posted on her Facebook yesterday, in a state crowded with anglers, was a photo of Peltola demonstrating how she doesn’t know how to use a spinning rod and reel.
“Summer in Alaska is unlike anywhere else in the country,” the page said.
Indeed it is. One regularly meets tourists who’ve never been fishing who put the spinning reel on top of the rod making it awkward to hold and requiring they crank the handle on the reel backward, which is even more awkward.
An Alaska congresswoman who doesn’t know better?
What would her late predecessor, Rep. Don Young, the onetime “congressman for all Alaska” say? One can only imagine it would be snotty, as in the “Captain Zero” tag Young once hung on Republican primary rival and quiet man Sean Parnell.
Peltola’s father – Ward Sattler – will no doubt be appalled if he sees the photo. A long-retired school teacher, businessman and Bush pilot from the tiny village of Stony River in Southwest Alaska, he was in the 1970s a staffer for Young and in the early 2000s a Republican candidate for the state House. He also knows how to operate fishing gear.
That Peltola might lack this understanding is understandable, maybe even perfectly so. She grew up along the Kuskokwim River in rural Alaska where it’s not uncommon for people to do all or most of their fishing with a net.
Gillnets are, in general, far more efficient than hook and line for harvesting fish of any sort. And you don’t have to spend nearly as much time fiddling with them. You can put them in the water, leave to do other things, and return to haul out the catch.
So Peltola’s lack of knowledge can be excused, though many in Alaska probably won’t do so.
But having no one on your staff who recognizes the blunder and immediately screams: “Get that photo off the Facebook page!”
Now that is a problem that might signal a congresswoman with a staff sadly out of touch with most of the congresswoman’s constituency in Alaska. Maybe even more so with Facebook noting on Peltola’s page that the photo has been there for “1d,” as in one day.
Has the congresswoman no Alaska friends or cronies who know enough about the 49th state to call and say “Oh-oh, Mary. Holding the spinning reel upside down on your Facebook page is a really bad look.”
And it was made even more so after grain versions of Peltola’s Facebook photo were published by right-leaning Must Read Alaska, which has been stalking Peltola’s movements since Congress went into recess and generally giving the congresswoman crap for not immediately beating it back to Alaska to spend the break in her home state.
MustRead did not note the reel at the time, but the website is sure to have a field day with it now given that MustRead has plenty of readers who will notice and say something.
The winner of the state’s first “ranked choice” vote for Congress, Peltola already had enough problems with the next election on the horizon, given she’s a Democrat in a Republican state and hails from the rural hub of Bethel in Southwest Alaska while 54 percent of 49th state voters live in the Anchorage Metro Area with close to 15 percent more baking or shivering, depending on the season, in the Fairbanks Metro Area to the north.
With 69 percent of the populace living in urban areas in a state with a well-known and often divisive rural-urban divide – and a high percentage of anglers among these potential voters – the wrong-way spinning gear is a really, really, really bad look.
Oh, the social media minefield.