Impeachment is intended to stop a tyrant in the White House, but a USA Today study revealed it has had another effect the founders never could have imagined. It seems to have provoked President Donald Trump to go on Twitter tirades,now more than ever.
Trump's tweets are both more frequent and more negative amid the House's partisan impeachment battle this month, according to USA Today analysis of his Twitter account's 8,200-plus posts from his inauguration to early December.
"The president is on the defense given the impeachment hearings, and once again he has turned to social media to support his agenda," Syracuse University communications professor Jennifer Grygiel told USA Today. "It is not surprising that his tone has turned more aggressive [as] he seeks to discredit those who are investigating his actions."
According to the study's findings using Factba.se:
- 16.4% of tweeted words have a negative connotation by December 2019, compared to just 14.9% in 2017.
- Positive words fell to 19.9% from 24.5% in the same span.
- Negative words were just under 15% in August, rising to more than 19% in October.
- Trump's words that convey anger were under 7% in his first year, but has risen to about 9% and nearly 10% in October.
- Anticipation words were around 13% in the first two years of his first term, but they fell below 11% in October.
Compartmentalizing his tweets into three negative buckets – dissembling, distracting, or discrediting – Texas Tech University communications professor Brian Ott told USA Today changes have come as "President Trump has been backed into a political corner."
"He has increasingly moved away from the technique of distraction," Ott told USA Today. "Since he is no longer able to change the news narrative away from impeachment, he has amplified the other two."
A White House spokesman dismissed the analysis when asked about it by USA Today.
"President Trump's use of technology to communicate directly with the American people should be praised, not criticized," spokesman Judd Deere told the paper. "Instead of obsessing over tone and lexicon, the media could cover his unprecedented accomplishments."
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