Social Media Slams on Schwarzenegger Scandal

If you’ve somehow managed to miss the media cover of the Schwarzenegger scandal this last week, here’s a brief summary: Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife of over 25 years, Maria Shriver, announced their separation. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Arnold had fathered a child (now 14 years old) with a former housekeeper. Since this revelation, Shriver has since filed for divorce, and if “Schwarzenegger Scandal” is searched in Google, over 8,000 news articles are the result.

Beyond the mainstream media judgement, harsh words have also been exchange through social media. Former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, posted this tweet on May 17, 2011: “Another guy guv admits 2 cheating on his wife. Maybe we need more women governors. Guys: keep ur pants zipped, for Pete’s sake. #Arnold.” An hour before her tweet, her husband, Dan Mulhern posted, “Men: can we talk maturely, openly, and seriously about sex and fidelity?” The Detroit Free Press goes on to explain that Mulhern is often featured in the media as a representative male with a successful wife, and the two are publishing a book together, due this September.

And these are not the only two posts regarding the subject. Former governor Granholm was definitely not the first (nor the last) to use the hashtag – #Arnold. If searched in Twitter, a new tweet pops up every few minutes. Even a top tweet directing readers to The New York Times Week in Review Article begs the question, if you had that kind of power, would you behave? Other tweets vary from consideration to his family to Bill Maher describing the scandal: “Two 13 year old boys, one from the wife, one from the maid, living in same house. Greatest. Reality. Show. Ever.” Similar results surface for the web’s new nickname of Schwarzenegger, using the hashtag #Sperminator (clearly a play on the Governor’s former infamous film role as The Terminator). Other celebrities also took a crack at him, and these top tweets were posted via The Wall Street Journal.

Although judgment towards the former California governor has been intense, Granholm expanded her position in more depth through her Facebook, “By the way: there are lots of great men out there serving in positions of leadership. Let’s support them and encourage good people – men and women – to run for office. My prayers are with Arnold and Maria’s family, and peace to everyone involved.” Later the same day, Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick showed the support for his family through his Twitter, “some days you feel like shit, some days you want to quit and just be normal for a bit, yet i love my family till death do us apart. #family.”

Through the 8,000 articles, celebrity tweets, and late night TV jokes, there has been much scrutiny of all members of the Schwarzenegger family. Social media has offered a way for news to spread like wildfire, and allow the public to stay abreast of current stories in a more convenient manner. The question the reader should ask him or herself, is whether or not the story is credible, and is it worth the retweet?

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~ by julieesmer on May 22, 2011.

5 Responses to “Social Media Slams on Schwarzenegger Scandal”

  1. Great coverage of the use of social media to cover this news story Julie! And I agree with you, people really need to figure out whether or not the information is credible before they repost it. The Internet should be a place where you can go to find information, correct information. But, instead, you have to sort through and try to figure out what information is accurate and which isn’t. Every time someone reposts, retweets, etc. information without checking the credibility of it, they are just making the situation worse.

  2. I never thought of it that way. Social media has become a way to just broadcast EVERYTHING. Whether it’s true or not.
    I think that this use of social media is very destructive. At the end of the day, it’s a journalist job to find the truth. And that’s what sets us a part.
    However, I think there is a line that needs to be drawn when it comes to personal information. With this example, I think that the bottom line is that they are getting a divorce because he cheated. We don’t need to know the total situation. It doesn’t help the people. It doesn’t put food on the tables. It doesn’t put money in our pocket. It doesn’t tell us what the future of this country will be. It’s just useless facts in my opinion.
    This kind of thing also messes with his public image. If he was to run for any kind of campaign, people would see him as the cheater instead of, let’s say, a philanthropist or whatever positive thing he wants to be seen as.
    Everyone has skeletons in their closet and he shouldn’t be judged by what happens in his personal relationship.

  3. I thought this was interesting because while I knew Jennifer Granholm posted a tweet about this, I did not know her husband did as well and that it was so widespread on Twitter (#sperminator, really??). Although this is a newsworthy story because it does involve someone famous/important (seeing as he was California’s Governor) and he lied about something this serious. This just goes to show that through the use of social media, news can spread in an instant. What’s also interesting (and it can be a good or bad thing) is seeing what other public figures have to say about certain topics. I agree that social media does allow us to stay on top of current news, and in ways that are more convenient and that pertain to our interests.

  4. Another familiar story of yet another political scandal regarding infedality. As if it was not hard enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger to be taken seriously as the former “Terminator,” but now add love child with the maid to the plate and his actions are practically unforgivable as a former governor. This is another scenario that just displays how the dissemination of news has transformed and the topicss that are deemed newsworthy these days. As you discussed in your post, Twitter is one of the biggest social media tools responsible for the fast and ever evolving dissemination of the news. I feel Twitter could be consider good or bad in terms of journalism. It could be good, because it helps news outlets reach audiences that may not otherwise pick up a paper or visit their news webisite. However, Twitter could be negative for journalism in stories such as this because people are not guided by any sort of journalism standards and therefore, the news can become twisted and much more opinionated then it should be.

  5. Great post, Julie and you did so much research into this! It’s amazing how something as simple as a tweet can spread like wildfire. Social media platforms are great soapboxes for opinions, especially if you have a lot of clout like Jennifer Granholm. Seeing the top tweets about this scandal in the Wall Street Journal raises a question about journalism–should Facebook statuses and tweets be used in news stories? I say yes, so long as the reporter does its due diligence to make sure the tweet is credible. I’ve seen many newspapers starting to adopt this practice.

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