Juan Williams now convinced 500 million on Twitter are "distorting" public perceptions. Journalists getting drowned out. Ummm....—
Mr. Cain Thaler (@Mr_Cain_Thaler) October 25, 2012
It’s no secret that many “real journalists” have a thorny relationship with those meddling “just a blogger” types and their social media tools. Juan Williams writes on FoxNews.com today that tools like Twitter have allowed “grandma, the kids and everyone else in the living room” for the first time to “score” presidential debates as they happen — and he’s not happy about it. Why? Because of “the power of social media to create a distorted avalanche of public opinion about what happened.”
So what really happened? In Williams’ opinion, it’s not so clear that President Obama lost the first presidential debate. However, a deluge of tweets bemoaning Obama’s barely there attitude — even from the president’s most loyal and liberal celebrity supporters — allowed those following along on their laptops to develop their own opinions before the fact-checkers of the dinosaur media even had a chance to start the spin cycle.
The perception that coalesced around that first debate turned the election from a likely Obama win to a dead heat. It was as if he had garbled his words, lost his thoughts and made factual errors – none of which occurred. But it nonetheless moved the polls in a big way.
The perception that Romney won the first debate was a byproduct of this new media experience. Even though Obama won the two subsequent debates, it was not enough to dislodge the initial perception and he could lose the election because of it. Welcome to the new political order.
So, Romney might win the election because millions on Twitter mistakenly thought Obama lost the first debate? OK!
If Williams is upset by the public’s thirst for “zingers” over substance and the popularity of hashtags like Big Bird, binders and bayonets, he might want to have a look at just which campaign rushed to embrace each one and incorporate it into its own tweets and TV spots to the point of absurdity. Or does he have #Romnesia?