White House senior aide Kellyanne Conway imagines the worst like being hit by an assassin’s bullet. Sadly, she can also conjure up images of the worst in people – on Twitter, that is, with many users “probably celebrating” such a gruesome scenario.
Conway said: “If I were shot and killed tomorrow half of Twitter would explode in applause and excitement. This is the world we live in now.”
It is sad as Conway went on: “It’s terrible. Because again, it’s one thing to say I disagree with you on healthcare repeal, or on taxes, or on your plan for national security, but you can’t attack people personally in a way and think that tragedies like this won’t happen again.”
Conway’s thoughts came following the politically-motivated assassination attempt this week on Steve Scalise, R-La, and lobbyist Matt Mika in critical condition. The suspected gunman, James Hodgkinson, 66, hated Republicans and loved progressive politicians and pundits.
Despite Conway’s seemingly pessimistic assessment of Twitter and its users, she may not be alone in such views.
Damon Linker, author and senior correspondent of The Week wrote: “Twitter intensifies and amplifies pathological social tendencies among those who act within, report on, and write about the political world. It turns politicians, political staffers, editors, pundits, and analysts into petty, vain, childish, showoff, hostile, vindictive, dogmatic, impulsive, careless versions of their best and most professional selves.”
Linker added that Twitter can transform otherwise thoughtful people into a furious mob. He called it the phenomenon of ‘outrage porn’ that sweeps through the internet, and especially Twitter, with rising frequency. The popular social media platform can trigger the darkest and ugliest behavior in its users.
Conway stressed another ugly, unpleasant pattern by those promoting hate on social media: “You have images of the president being shot in rappers’ videos, being assassinated in production in New York City, the severed head.”