Partisanship over security: Public narratives via Twitter on foreign interferences in the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections

Authors

  • Catherine Luther University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Benjamin Horne University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Xu Zhang University of Minnesota, Duluth

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i8.11682

Abstract

Using a mixed methods approach, we explore the main narrative themes conveyed by the public, via microblogging platform Twitter, in regard to foreign interferences in the U.S. presidential elections of 2016 and 2020. Our findings show that rather than expressing serious concerns about foreign threats to the United States’ democracy and its electoral process, the tweets reflected the political polarization that has come to characterize the American public. Rather than perceiving the interferences as a national security issue, the public appeared to selectively use the foreign threats to bolster their partisan positions.

Author Biographies

Catherine Luther, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Professor and the Director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Benjamin Horne, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Assistant Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Xu Zhang, University of Minnesota, Duluth

Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Minnesota, Duluth

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Published

2021-07-24

How to Cite

Luther, C., Horne, B., & Zhang, X. (2021). Partisanship over security: Public narratives via Twitter on foreign interferences in the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections. First Monday, 26(8). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i8.11682