Lies Have Short Legs: Brazilian Media Exposes Bolsonaro's Deceptive Claims Amidst Misinformation Surge

Adriana Barsotti Vieira, Leonel Azevedo de Aguiar


In an era marked by widespread misinformation and declining trust in institutions and journalism, the deceptive statements made by former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have gained significant attention. However, it was only in the second year of his term, during the COVID-19 pandemic, that news outlets actively began to expose and denounce his false and misleading claims. This article presents a content analysis comparing press coverage of the following four pivotal moments in the Bolsonaro administration during the pandemic: his speech at the UN General Assembly in 2020, his national radio and TV address in March 2021, his speech to ambassadors in July 2022, and his interview with Jornal Nacional, the most-watched news program in Brazil, in August 2022. By examining articles and headlines from the country's three most prominent newspapers, including two leading fact-checking agencies, this study reveals a shift in media discourse with the term 'lie' being increasingly used. Our hypothesis is that journalism is striving to reclaim its role as a trustworthy institution.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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