Professor: Social Media Creates Segmented, Partisan Conclusions of State of the Union Address

March 1, 2022, 5:30 a.m. ·

President Biden poses for a selfie photo in a crowd with people looking on.
President Joe Biden poses for a selfie at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority following his speech on the infrastructure bill on Dec. 8, 2021. Biden will deliver the 2022 State of the Union address Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. (Photo by Carlos Moreno, KCUR)

Social media has altered how people engage with and interpret the State of the Union address, which President Biden will deliver tonight.

Justin Curtis, a political science professor at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, said it’s unlikely most Americans will sit through the entire report.

“We may, because of our connection, think that we know the substance, when really we know the partisan interpretation of the address because that’s what our social media networks deliver to us,” Curtis said.

Curtis said Americans should watch or listen to the entire speech, or read through the entire transcript. That way people can draw their own conclusions of the address without it being filtered through social media.

Curtis expects Biden to talk about how he’s handling the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Reports say Biden may also talk about the economy, the pandemic, and his Supreme Court Justice nomination, Ketanji Brown Jackson. If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Jackson would be the first black woman on the Supreme Court.

The State of the Union address will air at 8 p.m. CT on Nebraska Public Media.