Biden under accusation: the Big Mac reveals the truth!
In the modern era, where social media exerts significant influence over public opinion, a seemingly 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 out-of-control inflation.
Despite the 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’s inauguration, a 10% increase, far from the mentioned $16. However, the exceptional pricing at a single outlet in Idaho resonated widely on social media, as if it were representative of the entire country’s economy.
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 perceive the economy negatively and blame the president.
The case raised questions about the impact of social media and public perception on actual economic conditions. Misleading or inaccurate information circulating on social media contributed to creating a darker picture of the economy than the one 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 much broader 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, they must tackle the battle of public perception, often shaped by simplistic and sometimes misleading narratives.