by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon offers one “weird trick” for journalists who would like to develop a better understanding of the world around them.
Journalists love Twitter, the social networking game in which users who write the pithiest comments and hottest takes are rewarded with “retweets” and “likes” from their fellow users. Twitter is how political journalists follow the news and keep track of what other journalists and activists are saying about themselves. “Pod Save America,” a popular politics podcast, is essentially a discussion among former Obama bros about the significance of their favorite tweets.
As difficult as it might be for professional journalists to accept, the truth is that spending too much time on Twitter is one of several factors—including income (high), education (college), location (New York City, Washington, D.C.), and extracurricular activities (partying with celebs)—that inhibit their ability to relate to normal Americans.
According to a recently published NBC News poll, just 28 percent of American adults said they use Twitter, compared with 69 percent who said they use Facebook. The population of Twitter users is significantly more supportive of Democrats compared with the American population. President Joe Biden’s approval rating among Twitter users was 57 percent, versus just 42 percent among all adults. Nearly two-thirds of Twitter users said they wanted Democrats to control Congress in 2022, compared with 47 percent of the general public.
Additionally, that small minority of Twitter users was far more likely to support Democratic politicians, but was still out of touch compared with the majority of Democratic voters. Twitter users, for example, were more likely to have supported Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) or Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) in the 2020 Democratic primary than Joe Biden, who ended up winning the nomination. Some journalists even published articles about white professionals—a demographic that includes a lot of Twitter users—who loved Warren and were confused about why she wasn’t doing better in the polls.