Trump’s impeachment hearing takes flight online in the age of social media

The online spin began even before Wednesday’s impeachment hearing got underway.

Moments before House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff could welcome witnesses to the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to dismiss the “New Hoax. Same Swamp.”

Former Obama administration aides-turned-podcasters dissected the hearings in real time. They broadcast their running conversation on Slack, an instant messaging platform popular in workplaces, over YouTube to thousands of left-leaning followers.

And partisans on both sides of the aisle used Twitter to debate the significance of a revelation by William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, that one of his staff members overheard a telephone conversation in which Trump discussed “the investigations.”

So went the national conversation surrounding the first presidential impeachment hearings of the hyperpartisan, social media era.

It is a moment when influence and misinformation efforts move at lightning speed and with a sophistication that would have been unimaginable when the nation last went through a presidential impeachment more than 20 years ago, an era when dialup modems and AOL message boards powered the digital town square.

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