What’s Trending? Gas Prices, Disney, and a New Supreme Court Justice
Part of a Series
This piece was originally published in the April 8, 2022 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.
What a week! While those on the left celebrated the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, conservative outlets attacked Disney for its criticism of Florida’s anti-transgender “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Read on to learn more.
What’s trending this week
- Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson: The Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a move that was celebrated for making history.
- Amazon’s first union: Following Amazon workers winning their first union, it was reported that the company plans to block and flag messages related to unions in its internal messaging app and to monitor employees’ social media for union-related messaging, according to internal documents.
What we’re hearing on social
On Facebook, progressive pages held the majority of the top 10 political posts two weeks in a row, with Occupy Democrats securing three of the top four spots this week. Conservative pundit Ben Ferguson—whose page did not appear in CAP Action’s top posts data before last month—took the top spot the previous week.
A majority of top conservative posts focused on legislation passing at the state level, especially anti-LGBTQI+ topics, such as the Oklahoma transgender athlete ban and Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Conservative posts framed these subjects as “protecting students’ education in schools—echoing last year’s movement against critical race theory—and defending kids from exploitation. Several posts also called for a boycott of Disney. Additionally, the recent announcement of Elon Musk’s appointment to Twitter’s board of directors made headlines among conservative pages, continuing the right’s fascination with the billionaire.
Top progressive posts were less aligned on a specific issue. The top post of the week by some distance, generating 170,000 interactions and 46,000 shares, highlighted Clarence and Ginni Thomas and the lack of discussion about their potential conflicts of interest on the Supreme Court. Two posts by President Biden made it into the top 10, highlighting the call for a right to health care and the beginning of Ramadan. Next to a supportive post on behalf of courageous female soldiers in Ukraine, posts mocking the Disney boycott and the new billionaire’s space race received much attention. And two relatively apolitical posts made it onto the list, with one highlighting the rescue of a 5-year-old girl and another continuing discussion of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Disney was a major topic of conversation in the last week, generating the second-most interactions in CAP Action’s topic panel—second only to Ukraine—and the highest average interactions per post. While some of the posts captured in those data likely have nothing to do with politics (Disney is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, of course), the majority of interactions seem to be driven by posts from conservative pages.
The uptick on March 30 came days after Disney strengthened its opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” law, having been pushed both by employees and advocacy organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign. This was met with backlash and threats from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and the announcement of a new kids’ entertainment venture from The Daily Wire, both of which conservative pages amplified.
After a period of lower engagement, interactions with posts related to oil and gas surged on March 31, following the Biden administration’s announcement of a new release of up to 180 million barrels from the United States’ strategic petroleum reserve to combat inflated prices. The move was covered by a wide array of media and Facebook pages, leading to 2.5 million interactions with the topic across two days.
Another major announcement from the Biden administration this week was the expansion of the Affordable Care Act. The joint event with former President Obama led to more than 600,000 interactions on April 5 but was less widely covered than many of the other topics in our panel.
Finally, interactions related to Judge Jackson peaked on April 4, when her nomination was advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with support from three Republican senators and all 50 Democrats. CAP Action’s data were pulled prior to Judge Jackson’s final confirmation on Thursday, April 7, but we will be sure to touch on that in future installments of “What’s Trending?”
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This newsletter is written by me, Alex Witt (@alexandriajwitt), a progressive political staffer and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her), and CAP Action’s fantastic team of designers, data analysts, and email strategists.
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Welcome to “What's Trending?”, a weekly newsletter to help progressives answer the age-old questions: What works, and what doesn't? “What's Trending?” cuts through the noise to bring you the best (and worst) of what's happening on social media in the policy space, and explains why it's important.