I found two interesting takes on Trump’s Terrible Tweeting today. First, from the bestest media podcast, On the Media, a discussion with George Lakoff on how the tweets tend to fit certain categories.
Preemptive framing – Posing the issue immediately in a way that suits him, makes him look good or reinforces his own position. Then others are likely to remember it this way.
Diversion – To get people all emotional and outraged about some stupid stuff instead of serious issues. Keyword “overrated”. People forget what the story was originally about.
Trial balloon – Send an idea up the flagpole and see who salutes or shoots it down.
Deflection – Making it about someone or something else other than his shortcomings.
Trump’s twehtoric is very effective. He knows how to work it to get results. The media, however, fall for this shit over and over. Lakoff says that reporting on the tweet allows for manipulation of the reporter and of the truth. Instead, he says do this:
You begin by telling the truth and giving the evidence for that truth, then mention his tweet, point out that that contradicts the truth and then talk about what kind of tweet this is. You know, you say, this is a case of diversion. Here’s what he is diverting, quickly. Don’t have a panel discussion about it, you know, [LAUGHS] just do it and go on. Keep going back to substance and the truth.
Let’s look at some other examples:
Did CNN say something bad about him? They covered the Russian dossier story (even though they didn’t host a copy of it.) It’s Diversion and Deflection. (Remember he called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage” for publishing it.) As usual, he uses juvenile exaggeration and put downs. People who put down others this way do it to inflate their own self-importance. He reveals his insecurity with every whiney statement.
Here’s a useful way to frame this:
Trump’s approval ratings are reported by multiple polling outlets as very low, worse than any incoming President’s in decades. Mr. Trump lashed out by accusing unnamed “people” of rigging the results.
After complaining about a claim he thinks is false, he falsely asserted that John Lewis’ district was crime infested and falling apart. That’s a big exaggeration. He tried the preemptive framing and deflecting the issue to make Lewis look bad. Here, Trump missed a good opportunity to give a reasonable response regarding the claims of a “false” election results which might have been warranted. Instead, he took the low road and bungled it as usual. (These are in reverse chrono as newer tweets are on top. His current “to be continued” rants are messy reading.)
And then someone tried to smooth it over. It sure doesn’t sound like the same guy!
As if Trump didn’t appear to be flippity-floppity on issues, there is clear evidence that people other than Trump himself are tweeting from his account.
A data scientist has analyzed Trump’s tweets that come from two different devices – an iPhone and an Android device. Since Trump uses a Samsung Galaxy, it was suspected that the other tweets came from someone else. Using 628 tweets from iPhone, and 762 tweets from Android, he used a text analysis program to show the extreme differences between the two sets, concluding that someone much more focused and less belligerent was on the iPhone. The data doesn’t lie. One of these Tweeters is a hothead, the other keeps his cool.