Fauci and Trump: A Snapshot of Tweets
Analysis of nearly 6,000 tweets shows an ambiguous story about the relationship between Dr. Fauci and President Trump
The media is abuzz with speculations of the relationship between the White House, President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The doctor has been one of the faces of the regular White House Task Force on COVID-19 when the televised press conferences were regular affairs earlier in the Spring of 2020. Now, there are reports of increasing doubts about the position of Dr. Fauci in the messaging about the disease.
While the media was reporting on the tensions people took to tweeting about the matter using the hashtag #fauci. A narrative analysis of the tweets, using the narb analytic process that extracts a set of stories from a large number of tweets, yields an interesting outcome. A total of 5,646 tweets between July 6 and July 15 from 4,125 unique tweeters reveals what the tweet space is encountering around that hashtag.
As shown in the narrative map, the key themes of the story according to the tweets focuses on Dr. Fauci, President Trump and COVID-19. The tweets connect these three themes with a strong connection between Dr. Fauci and President Trump as well as Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 with a weaker connection between President Trump and COVID-19. The story is about what Fauci has to say about the virus and not what President Trump is saying about the virus, but the story emphasizes the connection between the two key protagonists of the story.
The themes of trust and truth are also important elements of the story and as seen in the narrative map, there is a stronger connection between Dr. Fauci and the truth than between President Trump and the truth although the story places nearly equal amount of trust in the two of them. The story also addresses the perception of Dr. Fauci as a hero or a fraud, and the connections show that the tweets lean towards considering Fauci as a hero more than considering him to be a fraud.
When considering other elements of the story there is consistently a strong connection between Dr. Fauci and science, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and masks. President Trump is not as strongly connected to these themes as the doctor. The triangular connection between the protagonists and the notion of discrediting Dr. Fauci shows up in the tweets suggesting that the narrative based on the tweets show that there is mention of the perception that President Trump and the White House is attempting to discredit the doctor.
Overall, the tweets offer a glimpse of a story that has developed and propagated in the tweet spaces. Some individual tweeters claimed to have thousand of followers just as some tweets were re-tweeted thousands of times,. For instance the tweet, “Anthony #Fauci tells @FT he has not briefed @realDonaldTrump in two months and not seen him at the White House since early June,” was re-tweeted nearly 7,000 times. Eventually, the story remains ambivalent without offering a clear support for either Dr. Fauci or President Trump with respect to the virus. It is this ambivalence that has become the basis for the different ways in which the matter is being treated by different media outlets.