Media Buzz

Online Ugliness: Inauguration sparks anti-Trump vitriol on social media

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel

 

If you didn’t like Donald Trump’s inaugural speech, criticize away.

If you’re concerned about what President Trump may do, feel free to sound off.

If you want to march in protest, as hundreds of thousands of women did Saturday in Washington and other major cities, be my guest.

(Although Madonna's declaration that she's often thought of "blowing up the White House"--and dropping F-bombs on live TV--received no media pushback.)

But the level of vitriol on social media is out of control. Rather Madonna-like, you might say.

I’ve taken to calling these outbursts a case of Trump Trauma, and they were surging over the inaugural weekend.

I’m not even talking about “SNL” writer Katie Rich, who saw fit to tweet a sick joke about Trump’s son Barron, and then deleted it. Mocking a 10-year-old boy! I won't repeat it here.

I’m focusing on more or less ordinary folks, people posting on Facebook, which used to be a calmer alternative to the toxic stew that is Twitter.

Some folks were taking such shots as “That speech was outright fascist” and “Trump is now president and I feel afraid to go outside.”

Journalist Maer Roshan wrote:

“I can't help but feel heartbroken about living in a country that has replaced a president as honorable and elegant as Barack Obama with a man as crass and morally bankrupt as Donald Trump.”

Lawyer Andrew Feinstein: “Civilization, as we know it, ends in 24 hours.”

Former reporter Larry Portzline: “I'm hoping the Dumbf beats William Henry Harrison's record. And I don't mean for longest inauguration speech.”

Business consultant Jeff De-Cagna:

“What's happening today is not ‘the peaceful transfer of power.’ We have been slow-walking our way into tyranny for 18 months now, and we have finally arrived. Today's events are a bloodless coup with the patina of democratic process.”

So let’s take those last two. Beating William Henry Harrison’s record means catching pneumonia at the inaugural speech and dying.

And yes, Trump’s inaugural was the peaceful transfer of power, he won 306 electoral votes, and this is not “tyranny.” Nor is it a “coup.”

Why do people post such ugly stuff even before the man had spent a full day in office?

And yes, I’m fully aware that people said and posted all kinds of ugly and untrue garbage about Barack Obama, and I spoke out against that too.

I guess on one level it’s venting. On another it’s playing to your crowd, to the friends you assume will agree.

But Trump is our president for the next four years. It would be nice even if those who oppose him personally and politically wished him well, for the good of the country. But online, at least, that’s not the world we live in.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.