The blurred line between reality and the internet

Matt Payne | @PatteMaper

Rather than merely present a block of text, a graph or some sort of graphic, Senator Bernie Sanders presented a tweet from @realDonaldTrump during a Senate hearing in early January.

This tweet showed President Donald Trump asserting zero cuts in funding to federal programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Sanders presented this tweet as a way to hold Trump accountable. Despite not ever saying this in any presser or in public, he assured those present that “This was a central part of his campaign.”

What does this say about the accountability behind 140 characters?

It says that we’re realizing an age we’ve been in for more than a decade now. Politicians, celebrities and large figures of all varieties all project what they believe in or announce things via not just Twitter, but Instagram, Snapchat and whatever they can download onto their smartphones. Just this past week, Trump announced his Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch via Facebook Live.

Social media even sees its way into the White House nowadays. On Jan. 30, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer printed out a tweet from former National Security Advisor Susan Rice about where the CIA stands in Trump’s administration. Spicer used this tweet as a talking point to address that very question that day.

As we progress in a nation under a president with speedy Twitter fingers, it’s only natural to assume that the Senate and house, state legislatures and local governments will follow suit.

Featured image: Senator Bernie Sanders presents a tweet from President Donald Trump during a Senate hearing in early January. (Source: CNET)

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism