May 7, 2017

National gut check

Jonathan Tamari, the Washington correspondent for the Philly Inquirer, posts a first-person look at the windshear wackiness of the new media and political environment, "I tweeted a photo of the Trump rally crowd — and then things got crazy":

By the time I got to a late dinner, my Twitter feed was overwhelmed with more attacks and mentions than I could track. As of Friday, 2.4 million had seen the tweet, more than 30,000 had liked it, and more than 19,000 had retweeted it. ...

Why it matters: It's time for a national gut check. The hysteria of the election isn't dissipating and both sides are getting too spooled up about too many things, too often, based on too little evidence. Get a life: Who cares how many people show for a stinkin' event?

More from the story:

Onstage in Harrisburg [two Saturday nights ago, Trump] told a throng of supporters that the fire marshal had "a lot of people standing outside" and that "we really maxed out. We broke the all-time record for this arena." Except, staring us in the face, ... were rows of empty seats. I snapped a photo and tweeted Trump's claim, along with the image. ...

People who dislike Trump shared them as evidence of his lies. Trump supporters shared them as an indictment of the Fake News media (me). ...

When I write a story, I usually talk to experts, write and revise, calibrate my language ... On Twitter, it quickly became the only thing millions of strangers knew about me or our reporting. (Even though hours earlier I had also tweeted a picture of the huge line of supporters excited to see Trump.)

P.S. BuzzFeed reports from London, on the U.K. snap election: "In total, six of the 20 most-shared election-related links on Facebook during the first fortnight of the election were from media sources which sit well outside the mainstream media."

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