The Daily Beast posted a piece on Monday warning that “Dems Are Losing the Social Media War.” Left unsaid was the Dems are winning the “news media” war.
Lachlan Markay, Hanna Trudo, and Sam Stein reported the Biden campaign had a reason to be worried about the potential damage of reporting on Hunter Biden’s sleazy gig trading on his powerful father’s name overseas.
According to their data, there was more social chatter happening around the Hunter Biden story than there had been around stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails during the last month of the 2016 campaign.
Fearing a redux of that disastrous end-of-the-campaign implosion, the team dove further into the research. What they found there was more assuring. While the Hunter Biden story had taken off on Facebook, YouTube, and various right-wing sites, it had not crossed over into mainstream outlets. The campaign’s internal polling, meanwhile, showed that voters largely weren’t persuaded by it.
The wildfire ended up being mostly smoke. But even so, it provided the Biden campaign with yet another reminder about the perils that social media platforms present to Democrats as they traverse the modern political landscape.
The “mainstream” media treat any mention of Hunter Biden as “disinformation.” By refusing to touch it, they suggest anyone writing about it is trafficking in crazy conspiracy theories. While the Daily Beast tries to blur Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro and InfoWars into one “centipede” of disinformation, this story also underlines our poll finding that if the networks had covered the Hunter Biden stories being unearthed by the New York Post, it quite obviously could have swung this close election.
The Democratic freakout over the potential damage of the Hunter Biden story led to the Democrats impeaching President Trump for daring to suggest to the president of Ukraine that he’d like to know more about the black sheep of the Biden family.
“Impeachment was so bad for us because it fit into [Trump’s] meta-narrative that they reinforced every day,” said Tara McGowan, a leading Democratic digital strategist, referring to the persistent “deep state” conspiracy theories and allegations of Biden family corruption that pervaded conservative media amid the historic rebuke of the president…
Months later, as racial unrest erupted—occasionally violently—in cities around the country, Democrats faced the same feedback loop of conservative posts and commentary that reinforced some of the president’s central political messaging.
“I don’t know that we would’ve been able to recover from the law-and-order narrative if the president himself hadn’t contracted the virus,” said McGowan, describing the president’s coronavirus diagnosis as a seminal moment that shifted the online conversation back to his poor handling of the pandemic. “Frankly, if the pandemic had not come,” she said, “I think we would’ve absolutely lost this presidential election.”