Delaney Turner | Staff Writer
Trump, Tweets and the Truth-O-Meter.
On July 12, Josh Gillin, staff writer for the website, Politifact.com, discussed the overarching presence of social media in this year’s presidential race. The staff of Politifact is tasked with the job of digging through multiple sources and creating a thorough report, to later back up the Truth-O-Meter scale rating, which ranges from “True” to “Pants on Fire” false.
“That’s where we come in,” Gillin said. “We want to explain where this comes from and what it means for everybody, ”
Increased accessibility to instant news has propelled the 2016 election into a high school Twitter fight. Candidates from both parties have been releasing juvenile attacks upon each other to boost popularity and poll numbers. Often times, and in Trump’s case 76 percent of the time (according to Politifact.com), statements presented are laced with lies both big and small.
“Now a lack of substance is nothing new and it’s not an invention of the internet age. It’s the speed in which these things get sent out that we’re starting to see,” Gillin said.
Candidates have no problem releasing mostly untrue statements in order to rile up the opposing side, and increase the chatter about the campaign. Trump’s most recent attack at Hillary Clinton pictured her face on top of a pile of money, with the words, “Most Corrupt Candidate” plastered on a Star of David look-alike. After multiple attacks at Trump, the tweet was deleted and sent out, this time with a circle sloppily edited over the top.
“[A tweet] gets retweeted 10,000 times and a bunch of other people like it, even when there’s no substance to it. You have people running for state positions who can post a commercial and reach voters practically for free,” Gillin said.
Whether the voters like it or not, information is being spilled out on a daily basis, mostly falsified. Those impartial to a particular political party bombard the staff with accusations of bias. Gillin is registered as an independent, but finds that no matter the statement, criticism always follows.
“You can’t change their minds, but you can give them the resources and hope they remain open-minded when selecting the presidential candidate,” Gillin said
Social media has changed the way in which voters and candidates can interact with one another. Voters have immediate access to information concerning the candidate and political figures can send out advertisements, at little to no cost.
“It would be safe to say this election year has been elevated to a new art form,” Gillin said.