Blog Post

Election Fatigue

Dear HASTAC Community,

 

Eight days out and I can finally post something that is more than a simple rant. 

The outcome of this election has influenced me in so many way. Mostly, I just have more questions. However, one area which seems relevant to the work of this community is the role of digital media in presidential elections. As much as I dislike the alt-right's conspiracy theories regarding the "liberal media," I find myself wondering about the role of mainstream media specifically with regard to its biases. It's insufficient to simply blame the pollsters for getting it wrong. The media has a responsibility to ask tougher questions, which may be ignored by pollsters. Moreover, it seems to me that most of the main stream media got it wrong on a few levels.

First, they completely discounted the disgruntled white man and his enthusiasm for Trump. I know...I know...white women voted for Trump as well and if I had all of the time in the world, I would argue that disgruntled white "non-elite--insert whatever term is least offensive" men have been articulating their dissatisfactions since 1676. And, just as in 1676, today's rich, white men placate the Nathaniel Bacon's of the world mostly at the expense of women and people of color. Their dissatisfaction deserves attention, and not just from rich, white men who essentially use of the illusion of unity to really further their own agenda.

Second, can we please stop acting like Donald Trump and his "movement" represents an anti-Washington movement. It's an anti-woman movement. Misogyny unhinged. 

So, what's the point? I think we need to evaluate the ways in which we gather and disseminate information. Digital platforms will only become more important as people like me who "remember when the internet was invented" become a smaller portion of the population.

Digital tools have the power to bring people together. I look forward to joining you in this effort.

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2 comments

Can't believe you worked Nathaniel Bacon into that! In large part, by "digital tools" here I think you mean social media, and we all want it to bring people closer together--it can do that. But as we are learning, it can also drive them apart, especially through their ability to facilitate the spreading of disinformation. It's a megaphone for a lot of different voices. Trolling never ends. I think it's the season of social media and its discontents. 

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Can't believe you worked Nathaniel Bacon into that! 

By "digital tools" here, you are talking about social media--a special beast. It certainly can bring people together (hello HASTAC!) but it's also an unfiltered pipeline for views that do the opposite. So it's the perfect vehicle for disinformation campaigns, i.e. "fake news." We learn as we go ...

 

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