18, November 2016
US President Barack Obama believes Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost the November 8 presidential election to Donald Trump because of the Republican candidate’s successful campaign on social media. Obama had been worried about cropping up of multiple pro-Trump fake news websites in the run-up to Election Day and spoken about it with his advisory team before the presidential election, The Independentreported on Friday.
According to reports, hundreds of invented articles had surfaced which promoted Trump and slandered Clinton. According to David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, Obama’s team was concerned about the risks of these online fake news articles posed to Clinton’s chances of winning the White House.
Remnick said in the days before the election Obama held in-depth conversations with his aides, in which they discussed a new “media ecosystem” in which “facts and truth don’t matter”. Obama had reportedly talked “obsessively” with his senior advisor, David Simas, about reports of a “digital gold rush” on Facebook and Twitter in favor of Trump.
Remnick said Obama spoke to him about the issue, and called Trump’s tactic of using the new media structure to “attract attention” and “rouse emotions”. “The lens through which people understand politics and politicians is extraordinarily powerful. And Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don’t matter,” Obama said. “You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on. You can surf those emotions. I’ve said it before, but if I watched Fox, I wouldn’t vote for me!” the president stated.
Obama’s adviser talked about a “foundational change” that was changing the “parameters of acceptable discourse” following the emergence of social media. “The continuum has changed. Had Donald Trump said the things he said during the campaign eight years ago – about banning Muslims, about Mexicans, about the disabled, about women – his Republican opponents, faith leaders, academia would have denounced him and there would be no way around those voices,” Simas said.
“Now, through Facebook and Twitter, you can get around them. There is social permission for this kind of discourse. Plus, through the same social media, you can find people who agree with you, who validate these thoughts and opinions,” he added. “This creates a whole new permission structure, a sense of social affirmation for what was once thought unthinkable,” he stated.
Trump’s campaign had been hit with many controversies since its inception in early 2015. He made several controversial remarks, including a call to ban all Muslims from coming to America as well as forced deportation of Mexican migrants by building a long wall along the US-Mexico border.
He has also sought for a database to track Muslims across the United States and said that the US would have “absolutely no choice” but to close down mosques. According to observers, the propaganda put out by the Clinton campaign was also very strong yet it did not succeed, and Trump managed to stun the world by defeating the favorite candidate of American mainstream media.
Numerous polls taken before the presidential election showed that Clinton and Trump were deeply unpopular politicians, while Clinton’s Democratic primary rival, Bernie Sanders, enjoyed very high popularity.
Clinton was viewed by many voters as a corrupt member of the elite Washington establishment. Sanders on Wednesday suggested that he could have defeated Trump in a general election. “I would have been elected president of the United States,” said Sanders, who had received 56 percent of the vote for the White House, according to the national survey conducted by Gravis Marketing two days before the presidential election.