A Digital Recap of #SOTU

by Meg Storm

As most conservatives and Republicans expected, last night’s State of the Union proved to be nothing more than a continuation of the leftist rhetoric President Obama has been spewing for months on the campaign trail and beyond.

Instead of analyzing the content of the State of the Union address (during which President Obama attempted to justify his spending habits, fudged the numbers to make the economy seem a lot better off than it actually is, and talked about how he just wants everyone to pay his fair share), let’s take a look at a much more entertaining topic – how the internet responded to the night’s festivities.

Just a quick note on the history of the State of the Union: Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution requires the president to "from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” As a result, some version of the State of the Union has existed since President George Washington.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to formally refer to the event as the “State of the Union,” though the term did not take hold until President Harry Truman’s address in 1947. Coincidently, Truman’s speech was also the first to be televised.

The State of the Union moved to primetime in 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson decided it would help him get a larger viewing audience. The 1966 State of the Union was also the first to receive a “response” from the opposition, with House GOP leader Gerald Ford giving the Republican’s side of the story.

As the State of the Union continued to try to keep up with the times, President George W. Bush’s 2002 address was the first to be streamed online. Two years later, Bush’s State of the Union became the first ever to be broadcast in HD. Over the last few years, given the rise of social media and President Obama’s success with tools like Facebook and Twitter, the State of the Union has graduated to the big leagues – receiving its very own Twitter hashtag, #SOTU, which makes it even easier for people to talk about the speech.

WhiteHouse.gov wasted no time asking for what they like to call “citizen response” to Obama’s remarks, launching the “Enhanced State of the Media” interactive experience.

The service allows viewers to read through a transcript of Obama’s speech, highlight their “favorite passage of the speech that is meaningful” to them, tell the President how they are “connected to the issue,” and then “share that part of the speech” with family and friends. How fun?

Additionally, the new “enhanced” video of the State of the Union includes graphs and charts to support the President’s claims. Based on a quick scanning of the video, the graphics do not seem to be based in any particular fact. Below is a screenshot from the part of the speech about deficit reduction:

On the Twitter front, #SOTU was trending nationally throughout the speech and into Wednesday morning. As usual, there was plenty of political commentary, fact checking, and jesting from the right and left.

With just a few hours to go before the big event, President Obama tweeted out a photo from his official account of him and his advisers prepping for the speech:

The White House also got in on the action, posting photos of the President with some of the more noteworthy quotes from the speech:

The Heritage Foundation, perhaps in response to the style of the White House tweets, also published photos of the President with some of the more ironic quotes of the night.

While President Obama was the primary focus of most the commentary, Republicans were by no means spared. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one star of the night. His demeanor throughout Obama’s speech was disinterested at best, and, because he was seated next to Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, Cruz got a lot of face time during the broadcast. Michelle Malkin tweeted this photo of Cruz:

Finally, perhaps the most “newsworthy” moment of night (based on the mainstream media’s coverage) came during Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) delivery of the GOP response. During the already slightly awkward speech, Rubio apparently became parched and reached for a water bottle that seemed to be pretty far out of reach. It quickly became clear that this moment would be the only thing anyone would remember from the speech.

Immediately following the speech, Rubio made light of the situation, having his aid, Todd Harris, tweet out this photo, with the caption "I am now the proud owner of the most famous water bottle in American politics":

So there you have it. That's a quick recap of some of the more memorable digital moments from the night, which hopefully provided a respite from the endless analysis and dissection of the speech that is occupying just about every news outlet.

 

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below:

Fellow BlazeTV host, Mark Levin, joined Glenn Beck on his exclusive Friday episode of "GlennTV" to discuss why the declassified list of Obama administration officials who were aware of the details of Gen. Michael Flynn's wiretapped phone calls are so significant.

Glenn argued that Obama built a covert bureaucracy to "transform America" for a long time to come, and Gen. Flynn was targeted because he happened to know "where the bodies were buried", making him a threat to Obama's "secret legacy."

Levin agreed, noting the "shocking extent of the police state tactics" by the Obama administration. He recalled several scandalous happenings during Obama's "scandal free presidency," which nobody seems to remember.

Watch the video below for more:


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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Colleges and universities should be home to a lively and open debate about questions both current and timeless, independent from a political bias or rules that stifle speech. Unfortunately for students, speaking out about personal beliefs or challenging political dogma can be a dangerous undertaking. I experienced this firsthand as an undergraduate, and I'm fighting that trend now as an adjunct professor.

In 2013, Glenn Beck was one of the most listened to radio personalities in the world. For a college senior with hopes of working on policy and media, a job working for Glenn was a ticket to big things. I needed a foot in the door and hoped to tap into the alumni network at the small liberal arts school where I was an undergrad. When I met with a career services specialist in early March 2013 about possible alumni connections to Glenn Beck, she disdainfully told me: "Why would you want to work for someone like him?" That was the beginning and end of our conversation.

I was floored by her response, and sent an email to the school complaining that her behavior was inappropriate. Her personal opinions, political or otherwise, I argued, shouldn't play a role in the decision to help students.

That isn't the kind of response a student should hear when seeking guidance and help in kick starting their career. Regardless of the position, a career specialist or professors' opinion or belief shouldn't be a factor in whether the student deserves access to the alumni network and schools' resources.

Now, seven years later, I work full time for a law firm and part time as an adjunct teaching business to undergraduate students. The culture at colleges and universities seems to have gotten even worse, unfortunately, since I was an undergrad.

College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions.

I never want to see a student told they shouldn't pursue their goals, regardless of their personal or political beliefs. College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions. I never got access to the alumni network or schools' resources from the career services office.

Lucky for students in 2020, there are several legal organizations that help students protect their rights when an issue goes beyond what can be handled by an undergraduate facing tremendous pressure from a powerful academic institution. Organizations like Speech First and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for instance, are resources I wish I knew about at the time.

When I experienced mistreatment from my college, I spoke up and challenged the behavior by emailing the administration and explaining what happened. I received a letter from the career services specialist apologizing for the "unprofessional comment."

What she described in that apology as a "momentary lapse of good judgement" was anything but momentary. It was indicative of the larger battle for ideas that has been happening on college campuses across the country. In the past seven years, the pressure, mistreatment and oppression of free expression have only increased. Even right now, some are raising concerns that campus administrations are using the COVID-19 pandemic to limit free speech even further. Social distancing guidelines and crowd size may both be used to limit or refuse controversial speakers.

Students often feel pressure to conform to a college or university's wishes. If they don't, they could be expelled, fail a class or experience other retribution. The college holds all the cards. On most campuses, the burden of proof for guilt in student conduct hearings is "more likely than not," making it very difficult for students to stand up for their rights without legal help.

As an adjunct professor, every student who comes to me for help in finding purpose gets my full support and my active help — even if the students' goals run counter to mine. But I have learned something crucial in my time in this role: It's not the job of an educator to dictate a student's purpose in life. I'm meant to help them achieve their dreams, no matter what.

Conner Drigotas is the Director of Communications and Development at a national law firm and is a Young Voices contributor.