Reminder: Social media isn't real world. Plus: It's trillions. Trillions! And Iverson's 'practice' a classic.

By Gary Abernathy

I’ll have observations tomorrow about former President Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But for today…

Reminder: Social media doesn’t represent the real world

Note to the world: Social media doesn’t represent the real world.

It’s been tragic to watch legacy media outlets refer to social media platforms, usually Twitter, as representative of public opinion. Whether it’s a story about politics or entertainment, we increasingly see the news media refer to Twitter reactions. Newspapers loved referring to social media reactions to something former President Trump would say, as in, “Twitter exploded over Trump’s remarks,” followed by quotes of tweets by people using their Twitter “handles.” The media once had higher standards, both for who they would quote and how they would identify them (real names were once required).

One example just this morning comes from USA Today. In a story about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which runs the Golden Globe awards, the newspaper notes that after remarks from officials addressing a controversy over an alleged lack of diversity, “Twitter was quick to sideswipe the speech.”

First, who cares? Second, Twitter didn’t do anything. People who have Twitter accounts said things on Twitter. Twitter is a thing, not a person. It’s incapable of reaction. It’s just as annoying when people claim we should have a “compassionate government” or some such thing. The government is an entity incapable of emotions like caring or cruelty.

Third, Twitter only represents people on Twitter. It’s not comparable to a public opinion poll. Too often, it’s treated as such, as though reaction on Twitter represents reaction from the general population. Please stop. Social media is for entertainment purposes only.

Remember, this package is trillions. Not billions. Trillions.

Democrats are getting closer to passing a purely partisan covid stimulus package. The New York Times reports, “Days after House Democrats passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan without a single Republican vote, Senate Democrats say they are speeding ahead to do the same. The Senate could take up the sweeping pandemic aid measure — which includes $1,400 checks for many Americans and billions of dollars for unemployment benefits and small businesses — as early as midweek, according to a senior Democratic aide.”

The Senate will need to strip from the bill a minimum wage increase included in the House version, after the Senate parliamentarian ruled the provision was out of order. But the trillions of extra dollars, on top of $4 trillion already spent, is on track with a Democrats-only vote in both branches of Congress.

We’re talking trillions here, folks. Not billions. Trillions. It’s an unprecedented level of spending money that doesn’t exist for a country that all economic indicators say really doesn’t need it. Put a note in a time capsule to thank, or apologize, to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the debt we’re leaving them for no good reason.

Allen Iverson ‘practice’ video always worth rewatching

After it was mentioned at church Sunday to illustrate a point, I played the famous Allen Iverson “practice” press conference video for my wife, which is available in various forms on YouTube. It’s one of the classic press conferences of all time. If you don’t remember, Iverson was being criticized for allegedly missing practices, and his response to the controversy becomes hilarious, to him and the assembled media, as he goes along. The full 30-plus minute version is the one to watch for complete context.

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