It’s that time of the year(s) again. That time that gives us so much entertainment. Election time. It probably shouldn’t because it is our country’s future they are fighting over, but how can it NOT?
Politicians putting their foot in their mouth, making up facts and making up statements on their opponent’s views and plans (both which you would think they would be smart enough NOT to do anymore, we do have this thing called the internet now, makes for easy fact checking). In the end it just makes them look bad and their opponent a tiny bit better, until they go do the same thing.
One thing this election has that others have not, just like the Olympics, is social media. I am not saying it wasn’t around or even a factor in the 2008 election, but it has exploded since then. I could do many a blog post about subjects like the impact social media has had on the campaigns, on how fast things spread (47% anyone?), or on how important a social media campaigns and crisis strategy are.
But for this blog post I want to quickly talk about the presidential conventions and how social media seemed to have a different view on the candidates than traditional media. The Pew Research Center posted an article about how Obama and Romney maintained consistent negative treatment on social media through out the weeks leading up and during their conventions. While traditional media seemed to give each candidate a slightly more positive spin during the week of their conventions.
I think one of the reasons why this could be is because traditional media needs to have more “fact” to it. Social Media is where people have easy access to use their freedom of expression, to vent frustrations, bash candidates, and voice their opinions and views more so than anywhere else. On social media people can say whatever they want, whether they are educated on the matter or not. This is going to help social media maintain negative coverage on both candidates more so than anywhere else.
In traditional media a journalist can’t just have a negative story about a candidate with out at least having some resources to back up the claims if they want to remain a reliable source of information and maintain the power traditional media has as the Fourth Estate. This means it is their job to be vetting what is being said and represented by each political party with the resources they have access to and the public may not. This is going to cause the tone of coverage to fluctuate as the campaigns continue and different things are brought into light by each party.
I myself didn’t watch the conventions, but I heard all about them via social media (okay, I mostly heard about Clint Eastwood and his chair). For both Obama and Romney the statements I heard were most always in the negative. The thing is, these reactions don’t really taint my view on each opponent, because I already know who I will most likely be voting for. Other people’s view points on the candidates probably wont change mine, unless they actually have something major and factual to back it up. If anyone is going to change my opinion its going to be either the candidates themselves or traditional media coverage on each opponent.