By Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services
With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama has found himself in a unique position. Should he nominate a replacement court justice, and if so, how could that nomination possibly get through a Republican-controlled Senate?
On March 16th, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. By most accounts Garland has a history of centrist rulings and a strong likeability factor. The Los Angeles Times offered up this analysis illustrating how moderate Merrick is. Several Republican Senators agreed he was a good candidate, but that they would not even consider a nomination until after the elections this fall. A recent story from Fox News cites Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah as a supporter, but not at this time.
On one side you have the President and the Democratic Party, on the other side the Republican Senate. Two sides with opposite intentions. So the White House unveiled a new Twitter profile, @SCOTUSnom, to help improve their odds of a nomination. Within 48 hours the profile has attracted over 30,600 followers, not all of which are sympathetic to the cause of the profile.
As a somewhat innovative use of social media, lobbying the public to increase political pressure in order to affect a specific outcome, the White House has also met some headwinds. The Republican party has posted their own evidence that their tactic is not a new one, asking to wait until a new president is elected before holding nomination hearings, but rather a precedent set by democrats. In this video, a then Senator, Vice President Joseph Biden makes a similar decree to postpone hearings, a claim now called “The Biden Rule” by those opposed to Merrick’s current nomination.
So what we have is a classic PR campaign. A war of words, videos, and even documents being lobbed over the walls of both parties, all playing out in social media. To see how this social media effort has impacted the larger audience of mainstream media, we analyzed the related media exposure over the past two days. Below is our analysis ranking the top ten organizations and people mentioned in the mainstream media, as related to @SCOTUSnom. We also wanted to see which states are reporting the most news related to this innovative use of Twitter.