Expert Unpacks Social Media Response to Controversial Video


SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A bunch of young people in MAGA hats staring down a Native American man beating and chanting at them, that’s honestly all you can depict from the video without assumption. But when the video surfaced over the weekend, blame started flying.  

Jonathan Groves a mass communications expert and professor at Drury University says the response to the video is a textbook social media firestorm.  

“That’s the issue,” he says. “When you feel that moment of outrage, when it activates your emotions, that’s the moment to be at heightened alert. Do I know enough about his before I share it.” 

Sure enough after the first video more were released this time showing how the problems here arose from different perspectives. 

Groves says it was easy for people to assign blame so early on due to their already held political beliefs.  

“If you care enough about a topic, do the investigation,” You have to do the homework.” 

Which is why he says moving forward the best thing to do is question what you see and know what sets you off and avoid videos or photos tailor-made to trigger those feelings.  

“I’ve got to be aware of ‘What’re the symbols in this video that are activating me?’,” he says. “Right? So am I activated by the fact that there’s Trump gear? One way or the other? Maybe I’m someone who supports the president and I’m someone who’s going to be one hundred percent behind the people that are wearing stuff that supports the president. Do I feel one way about it because I have a certain take on how Native Americans have been mistreated? Is that affecting my interpretation of these events? All of that is going to come into play. Are you open-minded enough to look at this and say ‘It doesn’t matter what side I’m on? How can I look at this situation objectively and make sense of it?’.” 

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