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Angry Tweets

Matt Wuerker
© Matt Wuerker

I can’t help but wonder if the Internet played a role in our current political predicament. Would Donald Trump have been able to to become the presumptive nominee without Twitter? Is it any wonder that the mainstream media abdicated their responsibility to vet the candidates?

With each generation, the dominant media changes. At one time, there were only three major networks and they had a profound influence on our democracy. Then cable news happened, along with the unholy alliance of Fox News and Republicans. And now, with Trump, even Fox News was blindsided.

As many people have pointed out, the Internet makes it easier to find oneself in an echo chamber, only listening to opinions and “facts” that we already agree with. Where will this lead? Does the Internet make democracy easier, or are we doomed?

Don’t get be wrong. I love the internet. I make my living from it. And even if I didn’t, it is a large part of my life (I am a blogger, after all). I would not want it to ever go away. In fact, I’m not even sure if I can imagine what it would be like any more to live without the internet. But I do wonder, and even worry, about it.



  1. Ravilyn Sanders wrote:

    Internet is just a tool. It can be used, misused and abused like any other communication media.

    Most of us know about Martin Luther and the reformation. Jan Hus asked the same questions and tried to kick start the reformation 100 years earlier. But is known to much fewer number of people.

    The difference? Martin Luther nailed A COPY his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg castle. This is what is lost to most people. It was A COPY. He had access to a printing press, and the same 95 theses several hundred times and mailed them to every influential person in Europe. Suddenly communicating across church hierarchy. The establishment was blindsided by the printing press, as it is being blindsided by twitter today.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 5:47 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Great example. Thanks!

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    Does it cross your mind that people heard Trump and liked what they saw, and wanted that? There is some human psychology at play as well (which Trump capitalized on). He played victim and people who support him (may be without knowing much about him) as victims. So those people even knowing flaws in him afterwards voted for him to show it to establishment and media for being ridiculed.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, I totally get it. People are tired and angry about our government. They are tired of being played for fools. They are tired of political correctness. They identify with Trump, and like his outspokenness. Trump puts into words what they are reluctant to say: their feelings that everyone is getting a good deal except them, their latent racism, their anger. They want to win.

    The irony is that Trump is playing them just as much as the establishment has been. Maybe even more. But at least he is being more direct and “honest” about it, rather than using dog-whistle politics.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    “The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan
    Or as he also punned, the medium as “mass age”, “mess age”, and “massage”.

    It is a brave new world, and the internet media we have now is changing us every bit as much as the new “like” economy, as explained by Prof. Rushkoff:

    “The attraction of this business model to investors is that the ability to measure consumer behavior directly, via spyware or ‘likes’, is meant to replace traditional modes of advertising. But when everyone is an advertising company, asks Rushkoff, what happens to the real economy?

    Indeed companies who are extracting huge profits from society without giving us something tangible in return, like razorblades or bananas, are harming the real economy. Business should benefit society directly, not indirectly, as when billionaires donate their absurd wealth to our schools. That’s a robber baron society. We just want a society.”

    It also begs the question – is it really changing us, or simply revealing, online for all to see and for all time, the real “us”, warts and all? Including our (presumptive) esteemed leaders.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  6. Ravilyn Sanders wrote:

    @Hassan and @Iron knee:

    All of America heard what Trump had to say, and it resonated only across a particular cross section of America. More people were repulsed by his ideas and his speech than were attracted by it.

    All that talk about “political correctness” was code word for saying bigoted things without being challenged.

    Well, I am truly thankful to Trump for one important thing. He showed how small the Christian wing of Republican party was. The Christian wing was the most vocal group, took lots of media time and took bulk of the bones thrown to the bases while Republicans served their true masters, the moneyed class.

    Going forward, the power of the Christian wing will be diminished within the Republican party, and that is a good thing. This might allow the moderate Republicans to grow a spine stage a come back. That would be a good thing too.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    I agree with everything you say, Ravilyn, but I would not call it the “Christian wing” of the Republican party. Maybe “evangelical” or more appropriately the “social conservative” or “Puritan” wing. Indeed, those people were voting for Trump as much as they were voting for Cruz lately. My Christian friends seem to be as appalled by what you call the “Christian wing” as the rest of us. I don’t believe they represent most Christians.

    Furthermore, I think that wing never had much actual power in the Republican party. They were mainly used by the Republicans to stir up the base and get votes.

    Ralph, thanks for the great quote from Daniel Rushkoff. I have spent time with him and worked with him. Indeed, our economy and society seems to be going toward “robber barons”, and I’m not just talking about Trump.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink
  8. Ravilyn Sanders wrote:

    @Iron Knee, re Christian Wing. Yes, Christians come in such large numbers and varieties, it would be incorrect to broadbrush them. In fact broad brushing them plays into their hands. They want to pretend they are the only true Christians and their numbers are much bigger and they speak for all Christians. We should not let them get away with these claims. They are neither silent, nor majority.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  9. Carter Shmeckle wrote:

    Big prob is that 140 word limit = shallow thought. OMG

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    the doppelganger of Ted Cruz says it all about this election. She was trilled. Problem was that she had never heard of Ted Cruz up until she was named his doppelganger last week or so. Of course, people have heard of Donald Drumpf so they vote for the celebrity.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  11. Don in Waco wrote:

    I think I have maybe 30 followers on Twitter and I follow about 300, mostly news sources, journalists, etc. Its an extremely quick way to scan the news and OMG is it ever fast when shit hits the fan. All that just to make the point that I kinda like the 140 character limit. I don’t like the lack of an edit feature but I doubt that Twitter cares much about what some random old dude likes.

    As for Trump, I think the press likes his tweets more than his supporters, of whom few likely use the platform (older white males). Yeah, that’s me, but its a blog about irony, right?

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink