Is Social Media Hurting The Presidential Campaigns?

Not to get all political, but as I was reading through some articles on I noticed this article about Hilary Clinton titled, “Clinton responds to #WhichHillary: ‘I shouldn’t have used those words’”. The article discussed how two “Black Lives Matter” activists attended a private fundraiser for Hilary Clinton and showed up with signs that displayed her past statements about gang members. Here is what the sign read:

“We need to take these people on. They are often connected to big drug cartels. They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators,'” then-first lady Hillary Clinton said, according to a C-SPAN video. “No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why then ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.” –Hilary Clinton’s 1996 statement during husband’s re-election campaign

This encounter was filmed and then later put on YouTube, garnishing over 1,300,000 million views. Because of this, the hashtag #WhichHilary, went viral. Below are some posts from the viral hashtag:



Users utilizing the hashtag #WhichHilary started to state the many different sides of Hilary, things she has said in the past that now clash with statements made by her today.



Because of the viral hashtag, Clinton told the Washington Post:

“In that speech, I was talking about the impact violent crime and vicious drug cartels were having on communities across the country and the particular danger they posed to children and families. Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.

My life’s work has been about lifting up children and young people who’ve been let down by the system or by society. Kids who never got the chance they deserved. And unfortunately today, there are way too many of those kids, especially in African-American communities. We haven’t done right by them. We need to. We need to end the school to prison pipeline and replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline.

As an advocate, as first lady, as senator, I was a champion for children. And my campaign for president is about breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of all kids, so every one of them can live up to their God-given potential.”-Hilary Clinton to Jonathan Capehart

Since the start of technology and the rise of social media, anything one posts online is permanent and there to stay. Anything done in one’s life lives online. In Clinton’s case, her remarks from her 1996 statement is highly accessible online. And because the encounter at the private fundraiser was recorded and published online, it was very easy for users to dig up inconsistencies in Clinton’s political career.

Technology can also have a way of distorting the truth. Read Clinton’s apology to her past remarks above? Well, what if she really meant them that way? Social media has a way of showing things in a one-sided way. With that said, anything one sees online can influence their opinion on something especially if it is written or presented in a way that is bias therefore distorting the truth.

This isn’t about Clinton and whether or not she is inconsistent with what she says, it is about how technology has a way of bring the past back to relevancy. The hashtag #WhichHilary was created because users found older articles, interviews, etc. of Clinton stating one thing but now claiming another. This hashtag is a true and prime example of how technology can bring the past back to life and relevant and in this case, very much so with a political campaign on the line. Talk about timing, right?

Noel Barreria @xonoelbabe

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University




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