Weekly News Comment #11

The New York Times recently reported on an eleven minute blackout of President Trump’s Twitter account. Just before 7pm the Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump appeared to no longer exist. Eleven minutes later the account re-appeared and only an hour later the President was tweeting again as if nothing had happened.

While the New York Times provides a fair analysis of the situation, showing tweets that are clearly critical of the account and also voicing opposite opinions that suggest that this is an attack on the President and free speech, it also sensationalizes the story somewhat. While the account was only down for eleven minutes, and Twitter released a statement three hours after its conclusion announcing that it was the action of a rogue employee, the story as presented by the Times sounds much more dire than the facts suggest.

While this is probably satire, it does raise the point that never before has a nation as large as the United States been so affected by a single social media account as now. Regardless of whether this is for better or worse, it is something that has a major effect on the way media is perceived, and poses a potential threat to established media outlets like the Times. If, as suggested by one of the tweets cited in the story, Twitter is a way for the President (and presumably other politicians) to circumvent the “mainstream media” and target their audience directly, this could explain the Times’ dismissive and somewhat exaggerated coverage of the story.

1 Comment so far

  1.   fuglsang on November 9th, 2017

    How one perceived the story obviously depended on their political outlook. I didn’t see it as that big of a deal, politically, but it could be of concern from a free expression perspective. It shouldn’t be that easy for one person to silence another, especially the president, so easily.