A Tale of Two Networks: Unraveling Partisan Reactions to Trump’s Indictment

July 5, 2023
Insights: Nebula Social

The announcement that Donald Trump, former President of the United States, had been indicted reverberated globally. The news provoked a flood of reactions on social media, most prominently on Twitter. To evaluate the prevailing attitudes and responses to this indictment, Accrete seeded two networks using political domain experts within Nebula Social: one with prominent liberal and Democratic Party accounts, the other with prominent conservative and Republican party accounts. Each network started with roughly a hundred accounts of prominent voices representing the respective sides. To garner a comprehensive perspective, Nebula Social was then employed to identify and included additional voices from both ends of the political spectrum.

Predictably, both networks erupted with discourse about the indictment. The left-leaning network concentrated on the facts of the case and the crucial legal precedent that might be established if a former president evaded indictment on account of his past status. The conversation primarily revolved around the intricate details of the Presidential Records Act, asserting that the federal government and taxpayers, not Trump, own the documents in question. In addition to the case itself, the narrative branched to focus on challenges faced by Trump's legal team, noting that several attorneys had resigned following the indictment. Throughout the subsequent weeks, the indictment and subsequent arraignment of the former President overwhelmingly dominated that network's attention.

Screenshot from Nebula Social: Continuously learning and interactive Knowledge Graph, left-leaning network

In contrast, the right-leaning network painted a markedly different picture. Rather than focusing on the specifics of the case, they zeroed in on the perilous precedent indicting a political adversary might set. The network likened the actions of President Biden and the Department of Justice to practices seen in Stalinist Russia or so-called “banana republics”. While the indictment did garner significant attention, many conversations revolved around prosecutor Jack Smith, who was discussed more frequently than the indictment itself. Parts of the narrative critiqued what was perceived as an uneven application of the law, citing what they view as similar cases involving figures like former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that did not result in indictments. Smith's ethics were also called into question, with claims of partisanship fueled by the knowledge of his wife's donations to Biden and Hillary Clinton.

Screenshot from Nebula Social: Continuously learning and interactive Knowledge Graph, right-leaning network

Interestingly, the right-leaning network exhibited a broader range of discussion topics. One of the dominant narratives that was persistent throughout the sample period was an alleged bribery scandal involving President Biden. This story gained traction nearly concurrently with the indictment narrative, with a significant segment of the network focusing on the FBI granting the House Oversight Committee access to documents suggesting the bribery scheme. This narrative continued to evolve with further purported revelations, including the disclosure of audio recordings dating back to Biden's tenure as Vice President.

Screenshot from Nebula Social: Narrative evolution timeline. Nebula Social discovers and predicts emerging narratives and automatically generates the narratives from the chatter.

Ultimately, former President Trump’s indictment was the perfect microcosm of modern social media politics. With myriad voices chattering concurrently about a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives, it can be challenging to make sense of it all. With Nebula Social, however, that challenge is made easy. Nebula Social was able to identify the most influential voices in each network, map how influential voices are linked, and understand what matters to them most yesterday, now, and in the future.

Let’s start your journey toward AI transformation.

Get in Touch