This week public hearings began in what is an extraordinary moment in American history. For just the fourth time since the ratification of the constitution, the President of the United States finds himself in the middle of a formal impeachment inquiry which could ultimately result in him being just the third president impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives after Presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. While to date no president has ever been convicted and removed from office by the Senate (the next step after House impeachment), it is not a welcomed distinction for any president including President Trump who has said that impeachment is not something he wants on his resume.
The star witnesses from the first day of the impeachment inquiry hearings were Acting Ambassador to the Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, George Kent. Several news and opinion pieces have been written about the details of their testimonies (and the coverage is available for viewing first hand via C-Span). The bottom line is that their testimonies build on the written testimonies they had previously delivered behind close doors to members of the appropriate House committees leading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to declare that their testimonies corroborated evidence that Trump and his administration bribed the Ukrainian Government with the hopes that they would investigate Trump’s chief political rival.
But what does the public have to say about that? Heading over to Social Studio, we try to limit related results by creating a profile using the key words Impeachment And Taylor And Kent so that we are only seeing results related to yesterday’s hearing. Although this is not a perfect search and it is not representative of all feedback, the search did result in 12 million results worldwide suggesting a great deal of interest on this subject.
The related feed brings us a great of interesting information we can use to drill down to smaller subjects. For instance, 80% of the related posts were tagged by the system as “negative” but this does not necessarily mean these post were opposed to the impeachment hearings. Nor does it mean that they support them either. It may be interesting to look at the 20% to see why they might have been deemed “positive” such as a defense of the impeachment inquiry as a constitutional process? Another interesting finding from the data was that over 6% of the findings (some 500,000+) were in Portuguese. Why is that? What can we learn by looking at the different sources provided and the messages from these specific sources? From this discussion, we can see that impeachment is a wide topic that can be broken down into more digestable tid bits using the tools of Social Studio.
The impeachment hearings will continue over the next several weeks. While it is too early to see what members of Congress will be able to successfully argue based on the findings of the entire investigation, early evidence suggests that news and social media will continue to discuss this topic in great detail until the findings are in. As you consider research impeachment or other complicated topics, consider how Social Studio can be used to narrow down your topic and help you create a resource that add value to the wider research community. Happy searching!