"Media crisis and disinformation: the participation of digital newspapers in the dissemination of a denialist hoax". Profesional de la información, Vol. 30, No.4

Bibliographic reference

Cano-Orón, L.; Calvo, D.; Llorca-Abad, G.; Mestre-Pérez, R. (2021). Media crisis and disinformation: the participation of digital newspapers in the dissemination of a denialist hoax. Profesional de la información, 30(4), e300412. DOI

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Abstract

Disinformation is a communicative phenomenon that frequently feeds on political or electoral topics, as well as other aspects of our reality. This research takes as a case study the coverage given by the Spanish digital media to a hoax broadcast during the Filomena storm in 2021 that insisted that the snow was plastic. The purpose of this work is to analyze the instrumentalization of fake information as an expression of the information media crisis in the current context of disinformation. We set out four specific objectives: (SO1) to study the spread of the hoax through the media, (SO2) to analyze the construction of headlines in the news pieces, (SO3) to investigate the treatment of the hoax in the content of the pieces, and (SO4) to analyze the sources used in the pieces. To reflect on this phenomenon, we propose a three-dimensional model (structural, economic, and pragmatic) aimed at clarifying the relationship between the logic of the spread of hoaxes on the Internet and the role played by traditional media in their diffusion. The methodology used combines workflow techniques of digital methods with quantitative and content analyses. The results reveal the appropriation of certain communication strategies by digital newspapers aimed at obtaining visits. We conclude that the Spanish media, by adapting to the dynamics of disinformation irresponsibly encouraged by the attention economy, subscribe to and reinforce the crisis of credibility faced by the media ecosystem.

Keywords

Media crisis, Disinformation, Hoaxes, Denialists, Attention economics, News coverage, Science, Social networks, Social media, Three-dimensional study model

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