If it feels like President Donald Trump has been hurling more invective into the Hellscape echo chamber that is Twitter than before, it’s because he has, according to a CNN reporter who tracks such things.
Daniel Dale, who has risen to prominence by using his Twitter feed to fact-check Trump (a Sisyphean task if ever there was one), reports that Trump is averaging 83 tweets a week (around 12 a day) right now, up from 58 tweets a week in 2018 and nearly double the 44 tweets a week he was sending in 2017.
That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way, especially when you’re spewing plenty of lies, hate, vitriol, bizarre proclamations, and other manipulations of the truth.
The LameStream Media had a very bad week. They pushed numerous phony stories and got caught, especially The Failing New York Times, which has lost more money over the last 10 years than any paper in history, and The Amazon Washington Post. They are The Enemy of the People!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2019
Trump is also retweeting far more than he used to, clicking that button an average of 38 times per week in 2019, up from nine RTs a week in 2018 and six in 2017. After all, why type out all those words about conspiracy theories when you can just share them with millions of followers via single click?
Dale’s number-crunching showed Trump is talking more in general, too, with longer speeches at rallies, more time chatting with reporters on his way to Marine One (his helicopter that delivers him to Air Force One), and is appearing on camera more and more.
It’s ironic that Trump is speaking more in 2019 as it’s been 196 days (and counting) since the last White House press briefing.
As I mentioned earlier, Dale’s specialty is in fact-checking Trump’s various (and many) lies. As the president’s tweets and speaking times increase, so too do his lies, as Dale notes.
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As his speaking time has increased over time, the frequency of his dishonesty has generally increased with it. One way to visualize all this: it took Trump 343 days to make his first 1,000 false claims as president — then just 197 days to make his second 1,000, just 93 days to make his third 1,000, and just 75 days to make his fourth 1,000, Toronto Star editor Ed Tubb found when we worked for that newspaper. Trump then slowed a little after the midterms, taking 125 days to make his fifth 1,000.
It’s not just volume we have to worry about, though that in itself is troubling as you think the “leader of the free world” would have more pressing things to do than tweet. No, it’s the danger of what Trump tweets that matters even more.
We’ve long known Trump has inflamed racism via his tweets, including threats directed at sitting members of U.S. Congress and anti-immigrant vitriol that has manifested in real-life violence.
But Trump’s tweet also have impact in other ways. His tweets about the stock market can cause adverse effects, something that definitely warrants concern as speculation increases about an impending recession.
And Trump’s tweets about foreign affairs, particularly Iran, have not only included what appears to be sensitive information, but are contributing to the deterioration of diplomacy. No one would be shocked at this point if Trump announced a war with Iran via tweet and that’s terrifying.
At this point, there’s no stopping Trump’s Twitter habits. He loves it and Twitter sure as hell hasn’t done anything to stop it. So as his tweeting habits continue to unfold and indulge his and our worst tendencies, all we can really do is brace for consequences of each and every one of his dispatches of hate, delivered in 280 characters or less.