}

Thursday, June 08, 2017

NOT speaking to the American people

There’s been a very noticeable talking point spouted by every one of Don’s apologists when they’re trying to defend the often unhinged Tweeting by the titular 45th president. They always say that “he’s speaking directly to the American people.” Oh, really? It’s an incredibly laughable and silly attempt at spin, and a pretty brazen lie. They know that, but it’s irrelevant to them and their goal.

Here’s why the claim is false: There are approximately 70 million frequent American users of Twitter, out of 328 million users worldwide. Pew Research found that in 2016 a mere 21% of Americans who used the Internet—not 21% of all Americans—were on Twitter.

Don has 31.8 million followers, which is a lot, absolutely, but he’s not even among the top 20 Twitter users as ranked by number of followers (former President Barack Obama is ranked third, behind Justin Bieber and Katy Perry). Don is ranked 33rd, placing him just above One Direction and behind BBC Breaking News.

So, Don isn’t all that popular in the larger picture, and he doesn’t even reach half of American Twitter users—who are fewer than 25% of Americans who use the Internet. So, that means that—being extremely generous—Don reaches at the very most far fewer than 10 percent of all Americans.

And yet Republicans and Don’s sycophants say Don uses Twitter to talk directly to the American people.

Let’s look at some more numbers. Don received 62,979,636 votes in the 2016 election, which was, of course, some 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton did. So, Don’s Twitter followers are fewer than half than the number of people who voted for him alone—and fewer than a quarter of people who voted.

And yet, Republicans and Don’s sycophants say Don uses Twitter to talk directly to the American people.

Raw numbers aside, who follows Don? When I looked at Don’s followers, Twitter said that there were 162 followers I “might know”. Those people were all either journalists, political commentators, politicians, and/or political activists who absolutely do not support Don. What percentage of all his followers would fall into those categories? What percentage is even American? We have no idea.

So, if you deduct all the journalists, media types and activists throughout the world who follow Don, and also deduct the trolls, this means that the actual number of Americans that Don actually “speaks directly to” through Twitter is pretty insignificant.

And yet, Republicans and Don’s sycophants say Don uses Twitter to talk directly to the American people.

What all of this means is that most Americans who hear about Don’s Twitter tantrums probably hear about them only through newsmedia reports, most of which aren’t entirely favourable. If the newsmedia stopped reporting on Don’s Twitter tantrums, then the number of the American people that Don would be talking to would be very few indeed.

And yet, Republicans and Don’s sycophants would STILL say Don uses Twitter to talk directly to the American people.

As with so many things about Don’s regime, this isn’t about truth or facts, it’s about spin and propaganda. Republicans and Don’s sycophants know very well how few Americans Don is actually talking to, and how few of them actually care or agree with those Tweets. But they can still claim that he’s speaking “directly to the American people” because, in a sense, his is: Few Americans, maybe not the most engaged or sympathetic Americans, but they never actually claim otherwise.

The goal of Republicans and Don’s sycophants is to reinforce their narrative that journalists “lie” and newspapers and media companies are purveyors of “fake news”, and that only Don tells the truth, and he uses Twitter to bypass those “lying” purveyors of “fake news”. They want to undermine the news media and to sow distrust of truth and facts. They’re not really trying to defend Don’s often bizarre Tweets, they’re trying to sell a narrative.

And that’s why it’s important to debunk the incredibly laughable and silly attempt at spin by Republicans and Don’s sycophants. But as long as the newsmedia reports on Don’s Twitter tantrums, that won’t matter at all, and far too many people will accept the talking point.

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