If you cannot rule them, misinform them! Communication strategies of Italian radical right-wing populist parties during the pandemic


Abstract


The present research investigates the extent of misinformation and conspiracy theories in radical right-wing populist parties (RRPPs) in light of the pandemic. As the Covid-19 emergency progressively gave way to an ‘infodemic’ within the EU’s domestic political systems, RRPPs made regular use of misinformation as a political tool to build consensus and to polarise the public debate. This strategy is further maximised within the realm of social media, which disintermediates communication and allows political actors to directly reach their preferred audience with personalised content. Relying on an original dataset based on fact-checked statements from politicians, our study conducts a descriptive mapping of the discursive tactics employed by the League and Brothers of Italy within the Italian political scenario throughout 2020.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v7n2p167

Keywords: fake news; media; misinformation; conspiracy theories; populism

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