A Tallahassee Reports analysis of the Tallahassee Democrat twitter feed over the last 24 hours (as of 6 pm on April 28th) shows the inclusion of three posts linked to racially divisive stories.
At first glance, readers may think the incidents described in these stories took place in Tallahassee.
However, despite the fact that the posts appear to be generated by tallahassee.com, a closer look shows that the stories originated in towns located in Pennsylvania and Arizona.
The Tallahassee Democrat twitter posts were linked to stories titled Hacked electronic road sign reads ‘Hail Hitler’ in Arizona, ‘What’s this world coming to?’ Mom arrested while trying to see dying son at hospital and Golf club twice called police after black women told they were playing too slow.
Images of the twitter posts are listed below.
This comes just weeks after the Tallahassee Democrat failed to publish a story about the beating of a white security guard by three black men. The incident happened in Tallahassee.
So why did the Tallahassee Democrat choose to include these divisive stories in their twitter feed?
Were the stories of great national significance?
To test this possibility, TR reviewed the twitter feeds of ten Florida newspapers over the last 24 hours.
The newspaper included the Orlando Sentinel, the Gainesville Sun, the Pensacola News Journal, the Panama City News Herald, the Florida Times Union, the News-Press (Fort Myers), the Tampa Bay Times, Florida Today, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Miami Herald.
The review found that during this period not one of the twitter feeds for these nine Florida papers included one of these three stories.
Maybe the stories were unique to Gannett owned papers?
That was not the case either.
The Florida Today, the Pensacola News Journal, the News-Press (Fort Myers), and the Naples Daily News – all Gannett owned papers – did not post any of the three stories referenced above.
In Florida, it appears these posts are unique to the Tallahassee Democrat. But why?
There has been recent discussion about how fake news is used to appeal to the emotions of readers.
Marketplace.org recently wrote a blog about “How social media exacerbates the racial divide.” From the article:
I mean we’re at a moment in time when racial tensions have been heightened for the past year. And I think that anything you add in to stir up the pot, to keep people upset, to further divide people, it’s going to be pretty successful at this moment in time.
Is the Tallahassee Democrat using racially divisive stories about incidents in other cities to increase clicks by their 49,000 twitter followers, and in the process, stirring the pot and further dividing people in Tallahassee?
The publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat, Skip Foster, should explain how and why these stories were fed to the people in Tallahassee.
Click on image to enlarge.