#TrumpStyle: The Political Frames and Twitter Attacks of Donald Trump

Eric Dunning


On January 20th, 2017, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45thPresident of the United States. No recent U.S. President has consistently engaged the U.S. media in such an adversarial way. Donald Trump’s personality, combined with the still emerging social media platform of Twitter, has thrown a rhetorical Molotov cocktail into the house of the body politic.

This exploration of Trump’s Twitter rhetoric in regards to the U.S. media is important in three regards: (1) Twitter is now officially ensconced as a legitimate and effective political tool. (2) Twitter is now the primary avenue for dissemination of political propaganda and “talking points” and (3) When weaponized, Twitter can completely fracture the public and tangibly alter the reality/perceptions of a non-discerning public, to the point of embracing the most outlandish conspiracy theories or political narratives.  In addressing these issues and contributing to current scholarship, this paper will utilize framing theory to engage in a content analysis of Trump’s “Fake News” tweets. In doing so, we should gain a better understanding of how Donald Trump uses 180 characters to develop allies, engage his opposition, promote his agenda, respond to criticism and define himself.


Twitter, Framing, Political Frames, Donald Trump

Full Text:



Druckman, J.N. (2001). "The Implications of Framing Effects for Citizen Competence". Political Behavior. 23 (3): 225–56. doi:10.1023/A:1015006907312.

Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (1991). Social cognition (2nd ed.).

New York: McGraw-Hill.

Glaser, A. (2018, January 19). Twitter admits there were 50,000 Russian bots trying to confuse American voters before the election. Slate. Retrieved from http:// www.slate.com

Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An easy on the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Iyengar, S. (1991). Is Anyone Responsible? How Television Frames Political Issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kosicki, G.M. (1993). Problems and opportunities in Agenda-setting research. Journal of Communication. 43 (2): 100–27. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01265.x.

Lakoff, G. (2004). Don’t think of an elephant! Know your values and frame the debate. White River, VT: Chelsea Green

Price, V., Tewksburg, D. and Powers, E. (1997): Switching trains of thought: the impact of news frames on cognitive responses, Communication Research, 24 (5), 481–506

The Trump Twitter Archive. http://www.trumptwitterarchive.com/

Tversky, A. &; Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211 (4481): 453–58.

Vatz, R. (2009). The mythical status of situational rhetoric. The Review of Communication, 9 (1), 1-5.

Volz, D. & Ingram, D. (2018, January 25). Facebook: Russian agents created 129 U.S. election events. Reuters News. http://www.reuters.com

Weaver, D. (2007). Thoughts on agenda setting, framing, and priming. Journal of Communication. 57(142). doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00333.x.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, USA, The Journal of Social Media in Society is sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal and Fine Arts, Education, Business Administration, and Graduate Studies.