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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

No speaker at the Democratic National Convention came close to generating as much online enthusiasm as Michelle Obama, according to NewsWhip data shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: By these measures, the most effective messenger in the Democratic Party is not even a politician.

By the numbers: Among the 100 most viral stories about DNC topics this past week, there were 7.56 million social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) on stories about Michelle Obama's speech.

  • That's 5x more than the estimated total for the next closest person — her husband.
  • Joe Biden, the presidential nominee and the main focus of the convention, came in third.

Between the lines: Many of the best-performing articles around Michelle Obama called for readers to watch or read the full speech, framed neutrally.

  • Other top items were headlined around memorable lines from her speech — "in over his head," "the wrong president for our country," and "it is what it is."
  • On the right, the most traction for stories about her speech came around the Associated Press fact-checking her claim that the Trump administration put kids in cages. (It concluded that while the Trump administration did own the policy of separating families, the reference to "cages" was misleading.)

The details: Barack Obama had the second-most interactions, followed by Biden and then President Trump.

  • Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee and the other subject of praise during the week, was far down on the list, with only one story in the top 100.
  • The data captured all of the social media interactions as of Friday morning — including stories about Biden and Harris's acceptance speeches.
  • For Wednesday and Thursday's articles, NewsWhip's predicted interactions account for where the stories could be expected to wind up, factoring in whether they were gaining or losing traction as of Friday morning.

While left-leaning audiences ate up stories about the Obamas — as well as Republicans who have embraced Biden, like Cindy McCain and John Kasich — conservative audiences fixated on a handful of storylines that would be invisible to many people with liberal feeds.

  • The top storyline was the presence of undocumented immigrants in the convention program — one of whom expressed a desire for health care access.
  • Another top theme on the right was pillorying the 42nd president: "Bill Clinton Lectures Donald Trump About His Conduct In ‘The Oval Office’ During DNC Convention Speech" (Daily Wire) and "Man Who Had Oval Office Affair with Intern Condemns Trump's Use of Oval Office" (Western Journal).
  • Right-wing publications also leaned into videos of caucus meetings at the convention that showed the Pledge of Allegiance being recited without "under God."

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2020 - Technology

Social media companies all starting to look the same

Data: Axios research; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Snapchat on Monday launched Spotlight, a video tab within its app that, like TikTok, distributes videos based more on how popular they are than on who created them. Facebook in August launched its TikTok competitor, called Reels.

Driving the news: Snapchat's news comes days after Twitter said it would be adding "Fleets," which are basically Snapchat stories for people who tweet. (Nearly every social media app has launched some version of Stories in the past few years.)

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.