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Press coverage of fake news in election campaigning : The US and Sweden in a comparative perspective

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Author list: Nounkeu Tatchou, Christian
Publication year: 2019

Abstract

This article compares the press coverage of fake news during the 2018 midterm election campaign in the United States and 2018 parliamentary election campaign in Sweden. We specifically investigate what the news media in the two countries refer to when they use the term ‘fake news’. In addition, we examine the main aspects of the issue of discussed in the news media reports. Moreover, we analyse the angles from which the news media in Sweden and in the US present the problem of fake news. The study draws from the theory framing and journalistic culture and uses the quantitative content analysis method. The results show that the press in both countries use the term fake news to refer to strategic falsehood shared on social media. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate an overall consistency and homogeneity in the Swedish press reporting about the instigators, channels of propagation, narratives and purposes of fake news while the US press reporting is characterized by significant divergences. Finally, the outcome of the study reveals that the phenomenon of fake news in presented in the Swedish press as a problem of radical right groups, whereas in the US press it is framed as a Russian attack on the country’s institutions.


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