Fuming mad or jumping with joy? Emotional responses to uncivil communication, post-truth and crisis on Facebook



Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Ekonomicko-správní fakulta

Popis The antagonistic discourse and lack of communicative truthfulness, prominent aspects of contemporary politics in many European countries, have become especially salient during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis given the increased political polarization of societies. Extant research has brought important insights into the effects of hostile politics on people's attitudes, showing how populist conflictive messages fuel strong reactions like love or anger. However, less work has been done on emotional reactions caused by polarized political communication. This study focuses on the effects of incivility and post-truth accusations in political leaders' social media communication on emotional reactions of users responding to those posts during a crisis. Building upon concepts from populist communication and polarization, we go beyond studying the quantity of responses to elite discourse and investigate the content and contextual characteristics affecting more qualitative reactions. We analyse the communication of the Czech political party leaders on Facebook during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 and March 2021). Applying the manual claims analysis (2549 posts), we expect the use of uncivil language and the presence of truth evaluations will increase the number of emotional responses of social media users. We also expect the emotional reactions will be more pronounced under populist (vs. non-populist) posts and will also differ according to the crisis developments (different pandemic waves, emphasized issues). The article has important implications for the study of how negativity, incivility and attacks on truthfulness in elite communication may help delegitimise political opponents as well as increase societal polarization and public distrust towards democratic institutions.
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