Biden under accusation: the Big Mac reveals the truth!
In the modern era, where social media exerts a significant influence on public opinion, an apparently insignificant event like an expensive meal at McDonald’s has sparked a heated debate on the US economy and President Biden’s management. On December 20, 2022, Topher Olive visited a McDonald’s in Post Falls, Idaho, and ordered a special meal, the “smoky” double quarter pounder BLT, accompanied by fries and Sprite, for a total of $16.10. Olive’s sharing of the receipt on TikTok triggered a viral wave of discussion on the president’s economic policies, with many interpreting the high price as a symptom of runaway inflation.
Contrary to popular narrative, inflation was actually showing signs of slowing down. An analysis by The Economist revealed that the average price of a Big Mac in the United States had only increased by 70 cents compared to the period before Biden took office, a 10% increase, far from the mentioned $16. However, the exceptional price of a single outlet in Idaho resonated widely on social media, as if it were representative of the entire economy of the country.
This perception posed a challenge for the Biden administration and Democratic officials, particularly in light of the 2024 presidential elections. Despite inflation stabilizing and the labor market remaining robust, many voters continued to have a negative perception of the economy, blaming the president.
The case raised questions about the impact of social media and public perception compared to the actual economic conditions. Misleading or false information circulating on social media has contributed to creating a bleaker image of the economy than that supported by statistical data.
Faced with this scenario, the White House’s digital strategy office collaborated with TikTok influencers to promote positive narratives about Biden’s economic management and worked with social media platforms to counter disinformation. Despite these efforts, effectively communicating the administration’s economic successes remained a challenge in an environment where public perceptions are heavily influenced by the prevailing narrative on social networks.
The situation highlights a broader dynamic: the influence of social media on political and economic opinions has become a crucial factor in modern politics. This phenomenon raises important questions about how political leaders and institutions can navigate a media landscape where reality and perception can significantly diverge.
The McDonald’s meal case thus becomes a symbol of the social media era, where an isolated incident can assume a much larger significance, influencing public debate and the perception of government policies. The challenge for political leaders is twofold: on one hand, they must manage real economic issues; on the other hand, they must face the battle of public perception, often shaped by simplistic and sometimes misleading narratives.