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A Badge of Honor? How The New York Times discredits President Trump’s fake news accusations


Lischka, Juliane A (2017). A Badge of Honor? How The New York Times discredits President Trump’s fake news accusations. Journalism Studies:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

News organizations in many Western democracies face decreasing trust amid fake news accusations. In this situation, news organizations risk losing their license to operate and need to defend their legitimacy. This study analyzes how The New York Times (NYT) discredits fake news accusations, which are prominently expressed by US President Trump. A critical discourse analysis of the NYT’s news articles about fake news accusations in the first 70 days following President Trump’s inauguration reveals four delegitimizing strategies. First, the accusations are taken as a “badge of honor” for professional journalism but are morally evaluated to damage journalism’s role as the fourth estate in democracy. Second, using sarcasm, the articles criticize President Trump’s capacity to govern and thus question his legitimacy. Third, reporting implies that fake news accusations aim at suppressing critical thinking as in authoritarian regimes. Fourth, accusations are described as irrational responses to professional reporting or proven to be factually wrong, when possible. Overall, reporting in the NYT portrays President Trump as an irresponsible leader risking the well-being of the country’s citizens, its journalism, and its democracy, as well as journalism in foreign countries.

Abstract

News organizations in many Western democracies face decreasing trust amid fake news accusations. In this situation, news organizations risk losing their license to operate and need to defend their legitimacy. This study analyzes how The New York Times (NYT) discredits fake news accusations, which are prominently expressed by US President Trump. A critical discourse analysis of the NYT’s news articles about fake news accusations in the first 70 days following President Trump’s inauguration reveals four delegitimizing strategies. First, the accusations are taken as a “badge of honor” for professional journalism but are morally evaluated to damage journalism’s role as the fourth estate in democracy. Second, using sarcasm, the articles criticize President Trump’s capacity to govern and thus question his legitimacy. Third, reporting implies that fake news accusations aim at suppressing critical thinking as in authoritarian regimes. Fourth, accusations are described as irrational responses to professional reporting or proven to be factually wrong, when possible. Overall, reporting in the NYT portrays President Trump as an irresponsible leader risking the well-being of the country’s citizens, its journalism, and its democracy, as well as journalism in foreign countries.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:21 Nov 2017 14:14
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 11:22
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1461-670X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2017.1375385
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100018_162644
  • : Project TitleLegitimacy Management of News Media Organizations

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