Has Social Media Altered News Reporting of The Presidential Race?


 Social media and the Internet these past several years have shown the rapid publishing and posting of online news outlets striving to get out their stories immediately before the others. Within the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, whatever a candidate says, takes off like a cruise missile, its white and black smoke of half-truths and attacks on his or her opponents floating through the cluttered posts and videos in the world of electronic chatter. Before the smog dissipates, the tech savvy, young people on Twitter are slapping down their hashtags in response to those candidates, while rival news sites are feverishly typing up their counter arguments in their latest news stories.

Less than a decade ago, this was not happening because the technology wasn’t there. Twitter wasn’t born yet. What is amazing is that, today, more online news sites have gained credibility, while the mainstream media has lost some of theirs. Now, you will have a difficult time finding a news site that is not obviously left or right, and some have revealed themselves to be, which, to most of us following the news, especially in the past 20 to 30 years, is not really surprising. An example of this phenomena of the fastest draw of the news posts in cyber land in the past few weeks is when Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton’s advisor, Joel Benenson responded to Senator Bernie Sanders’ request for a debate in New York, saying Senator Sanders needed to fix his aggressive tone before Secretary Clinton would agree to debate him. Like race horses out of the gate at a derby, tweets were pummeling the social media world, responding with hashtags that said “Tone Down For What.”

It is good to have candidates called out on their comments when they are ridiculous, or simply untrue. Correcting the lie immediately prevents people from going down the misleading path on which so many politicians send our fellow citizens. The most blatant falsehood was when Secretary Clinton told her supporters at a rally several weeks back that she didn’t know where Senator Sanders was when she had prepared and presented her healthcare program, implying he had no interest in a healthcare plan. Before Ms. Clinton could have stepped off the podium, online news sites and fact checkers, along with the Sanders campaign produced a video from 1993 that shows Senator Sanders standing behind Ms. Clinton in her speech on her healthcare initiative. She even thanked him for his support. One wonders if Ms. Clinton’s advisors are doing their job. She obviously needs the consulting to help her on the campaign trail.

By the time I type this, some other fascinating event will surface, but, nevertheless, the newest jab from the Clinton camp is Bernie Sanders’ gun control record. I read over his voting record in an article about this. Two points stood out for me: 1) his moderate voting record, and 2) he actually represented his constituents from Vermont! Imagine, a politician that actually listens to the people he or she represents. For me, a moderate on gun control, this is a non-issue.

As the technological advances and social media continues, can they really alter a presidential race? From what I’ve seen, I’d say most certainly.



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