The US election has been utterly fascinating. I’ve been following both candidates and they really have been different in their approaches with the media and social media. And even today when the Electoral Colleges declare Biden president-elect, President Trump is still saying that the election was rigged and he actually won as he got more votes than any sitting president and WON (he likes to use caps!).
For Twitter, the social media platform has taken it upon itself to openly annotate President Trump’s tweets and flag them so that followers can fact check some of the information that he shares.
Alongside platforms like Twitter and Facebook, President Trump has accused the mainstream media of generating fake news and being against him, and that they are ignoring his successes and not admonishing the Democrats as they should be, especially around Hunter Biden’s affairs of late.
In light of Twitter’s activity to flag posts, a new media platform has emerged called Parler. I’ve set myself a profile and have started to follow people like Hannity and Tucker and see that they support much of the discredited information purporting election fraud. What I noticed hugely though is that it’s very right-wing and with stacks and stacks of Trump support.
When you look at people like the pardoned general Flynn, on his Twitter profile, he actually directs followers to his Parler account. Obviously, Parler would really want Donald Trump to join but he hasn’t of yet.
There is speculation about him setting up his own media channels that will be able to deliver the news he wants to broadcast.
When looking at the tweeting styles of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, they are polar opposites. Trump uses the shouting approach with lots of capitals and basically launches a tirade of tweets, many of which are unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.
Biden’s seem to be much more measured in that he talks about the people and policies and focuses on the issues. He doesn’t seem to make personal attacks on other people or name call, and just seems more presidential.
Big media organisations are suffering with drops in ad revenue due to the coronavirus. As we work in PR we have experienced some of our target publications closing this year, many redundancies being made and a change in the media landscape.
This may indeed pave the way for a channel run by Trump, but there are also other channels that are popping up like One American News. These are currently engaged with spreading information about the alleged rigged election and generally attacking Democrats.
What I find interesting is that in some tweet replies to Trump and his followers, a popular list is around what Hitler did and point 4 is to muzzle the media basically. Trump is quoted to have said he discredits the media so that if they attacked him, no one will believe them.
Even with his protestations of fake news, he’s done a good job for over 70 million people, but Biden secured more votes, so that’s what democracy is about. The US is not a tinpot dictatorship.
What will happen next? I guess more right-wing people will head to Parler, viewership for Fox may drop off as alternative right wing media attract disillusioned Trump supporters…….and maybe Trump will open his own media organisation so that he can prepare for his or maybe even a family member’s attempt to be the next president in 2024. His Twitter following is falling, so he will potentially need another channel. It was higher than this, but he had 88.7 million followers on 2 December and 88.6 million on 14 December.
Also, now that Trump has a check out date, social media companies may breathe a sigh of relief about Section 230. The core purpose of Section 230 is to protect the owners of any “interactive computer service” from liability for anything posted by third parties. The idea was that such protection was necessary to encourage the emergence of new types of communications and services at the dawn of the Internet era. Trump signed an executive order to challenge it, because Twitter flagged his tweets around George Floyd, saying that they were inciting violence.
Once Trump has moved out of the Whitehouse, he will surely mock President Biden’s inauguration, as the incoming leader will no doubt be discouraging large crowds because of the pandemic. With a study claiming that Trump’s events have led to 700 deaths, it’s understandable why 20 January 2021 date will be low key, and for 81.3 million Americans, a very welcome day.