When the Internet Acts as Judge and Jury

The Trump campaign made headlines today as usual, though this time around the case was slightly more unique and potentially much more appalling than the standard coverage. Let me save you the effort of Googling it:

Today it was released that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s camptn rmanager, has been charged with misdemeanor battery after allegedly grabbing former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields following a Trump event in Jupiter, Florida early this month.

The incident has been a highly Twitter-ized he-said-she-said battle ever since the incident allegedly occurred. Fields isn’t the only witness to the potential violence;¬†Washington Post¬†reporter Ben Teriss claims he witnessed Lewandowski’s violent act against Fields.

coreyJupiter police have stated that their arrest report was not hinged on the two’s testimonies alone but also on surveillance footage that eventually surfaced and has been also posted on the internet. The footage seems to support Field’s story of Lewandowski grabbing “Field’s left arm with his right hand, causing her to turn and step back.” This sealed the deal with the police, who then moved forward to press charges.

Or course, the Trump campaign and its supporters have yet to be convinced. That’s not too shocking for anyone who has kept an eye on Trump’s campaign, as no amount of fact-checking or evidence-finding seems to throw his supports off track. Their camp has even set in motion a new hashtag train, “#IStandWithCorey.

The Trump campaign recently released a statement reading, “Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge. He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court.”

Of course, Trump isn’t the only candidate under Twitter fire for dirty campaign tricks. Remember right around the South Carolina democratic primary when the hashtag #WhichHillary started trending, eliciting more than 88,000 weets by 1pm ET? The Twitter had surfaced multiple times on social media as a way of raising awareness of when Hillary Clinton had “flip-flopped” on issues that are currently acting as her selling points in the primaries.

WhichHillary#WhichHillary was all over the internet after Clinton became involved in an altercation with Black Lives Matter activist Ashley Williams at a private fundraiser in South Carolina the Wednesday before the primary. Clinton did not address the activist’s sign, which sported a quote from Hillary Clinton during her husband’s presidential time in which she describes gang members as “super-predators” and said something along the lines of that they need to be “brought to heel.”

The hashtag is now used to bring to light many of Hillary Clinton’s political inconsistencies, from her stance on gay marriage to mass incarceration. It goes to show how much more power internet users have to incriminate people than the standard politically active person had, say, twenty years ago. Physical protests remain powerful, but online protests and trending hashtags are now worthy of campaigner’s attention and anxiety. Just how much power they hold remains to be determined, but I’m sure in a few years we’ll have data to tell us exactly that.

In this particular case, and despite the hashtag, Clinton led Sanders in South Carolina by a fairly large margin.

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