The Trump Archive is here. What questions should we ask it?


The Internet Archive launched its Trump Archive last week, as reported in this short Boing Boing post by @doctorow on Friday. (Few others covered the story: Engadget, Buzzfeed, and VentureBeat). It will provide an opportunity to fact check Trump, writes Doctorow.

I have a feeling the archive will be of little use when it comes to fact checking, however. Some on Twitter have attempted to send Trump’s old tweets back to him as a way to call out his hypocrisy–it doesn’t seem to matter. He doesn’t care. And there is no enforcement mechanism. False statements are protected by the First Amendment. There is nothing to stop him from continuing to lie in the future.

Right now the Internet Archive is soliciting proposals for ideas about how to use the Trump Archive. I am starting this thread as a space for others to propose and get feedback on their ideas before they email them to The Internet Archive.

I’m also starting this thread to get feedback on an idea of my own that I’ve already submitted to the archive. My two cents is that we could use the archive as a dataset in order to look for patterns. Depending upon the kind of criteria we use to analyze the data, we might be surprised by the results. My essay, How Big Data can expose a nascent White (House) Nationalism, published by the London School of Economics US Centre on its blog last week, details the method I proposed.

Looking forward to a thoughtful discussion.


WTF seems to cover pretty much all of it.


Fact checking does not work against a demagogue. He has already turned a significant portion of the nation against all fact-based media.

This archive will have important historical uses, of course. If nothing else, it is a realtime chronicle of the US’s gradual slipping into authoritarianism.

I don’t know the way out of it, but I suspect that it will take a large number of people individually doing a lot of seemingly small and insignificant things and speaking with other people with all kinds of ideas. And slowly the US will climb out of the whole it is digging.


This has been my feeling as well. Constructive little things, yes, but also as a form of silent yet highly effective protest. You don’t always need to make a lot of noise to fight back.


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