Google Trends Documents Wide Ranging Reactions to Marches and Plagiarism

By Grace Watkins

The Women’s March and the March for Life are two of the largest of many demonstrations that have occurred since President Donald J. Trump was sworn in on January 20th.

The Women’s March, held the day after the presidential inauguration, drew more than three million marchers worldwide, including nearly 500,000 in Washington, D.C. by conservative estimates.

Organizers for the March for Life on January 27th have not released crowd estimates. The search term “march for life crowd size” is currently a popular Google Search, however, perhaps in light of recent interest in crowd size estimates.

Both marches saw an increase in Google Search traffic in the days leading up to the march. The most searches were recorded on the day of each march, with interest tapering out in the days following.

Despite these similar patterns, the Women’s March drew much more Google Search interest overall. The interest in the Women’s March over the March for Life is likely due to its proximity and relevance to the historic inauguration, as well as its newness relative to the March for Life.

The March for Life is in its 44th consecutive year, and therefore perhaps attracts less media attention than “one time only” demonstrations sparked by individual events.

Marches can be slightly differentiated from protests, such as the recent airport protests over an Executive Order barring travel by refugees and Green Card holders from seven different countries. Marches use the rallying point of standing “for” a topic rather than protests, which are focused “against” a topic.

This next graphic shows another way that Google Trends can demonstrate how differently the public can react to similar events.

Two plagiarism scandals have received widespread media coverage in the past year. The first was the plagiarism found in First Lady Melania Trump’s RNC speech. The second was the plagiarism found in Monica Crowley’s 2012 book, Washington Times columns, and PhD dissertation, which resulted in her stepping down from her appointment as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting.

The former plagiarism scandal received far more coverage than the latter, despite the fact that Crowley arguably experienced more personal fallout. I recently wrote an article for Politico that broke the story on plagiarism found in Crowley’s PhD dissertation.

During the coverage of both plagiarism scandals, there was a resurgence in interest and media coverage of former Vice President Joe Biden’s own plagiarism scandal. Biden was caught for plagiarism in the late 1980’s and while it did not greatly damage his career, his name does seem to regularly reappear each time there is a new plagiarism scandal. This pattern is best demonstrated by the upticks in Biden-related Google Searches during the Trump and Crowley scandals.

Publications like the Washington Post have run articles speculating as to why only some instances of plagiarism, like Crowley’s, are career-ending. There is little discussion, however, as to why Biden’s plagiarism receives such prolonged interest when many other politicians have plagiarized as well (such as Senator Rand Paul, who did not experience an increase in plagiarism-related Google Searches this year).


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