Mimicking of News is Used to Spread Racism

“Mimicking News: How the credibility of an established tabloid is used when disseminating racism”, by Johan Farkas and Christina Neumayer, is a case study focusing on a platform for letters to the editor that was operated by Ekstra Bladet, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, from 2010–2018. The article shows how the use of layout and quotations, for example, caused the published opinion pieces to resemble professional news stories.

– Digital media have given rise to new forms of political manipulation and racism, blurring the boundaries between civil and uncivil speech, news and opinion, as well as between journalism and user-generated content, says Johan Farkas.

He explains further:

– Highly active users used an established newspaper’s website to promote nativist and far-right narratives through manipulative visual cues, distorted facts, opaque references, and populist rhetoric. This opens up for questions of how user participation within an infrastructure of a respected newspaper can challenge borders of civility and racism as well as the borders of journalism.

What is the contribution of the main findings?

– The article contributes trough an in-depth qualitative analysis with new insights into how established media institutions can contribute to online manipulation by enabling content that mimics professional journalism, according to Johan Farkas. The findings show that such manipulation can amplify and legitimise racist agendas by providing credibility to otherwise discredited sources.

Read the full article in Nordicom Review.

Text: Karin Andén

Photo: Joakim Jardenberg