High-quality journalism in the face of Donald Trump’s theory of electoral fraud: the information strategy of the media in the 2020 US presidential election




Palabras clave:

Political communication, Elections, Disinformation, Public sphere, Media, Fraud, Political polls, Democracy, Trump, Twitter


The institutional political crisis is posited to be a great risk facing twenty-first-century societies. The instability of democracy, the increase in misinformation in electoral processes, and distrust by citizens are facts that are confirmed by studies such as The Economist Intelligence Unit (2018) or Freedom in the World (2018). In the context of the most recent US elections (3-Nov-2020), President Donald Trump initiated a dialog focused on an allegation of electoral fraud that mobilized the masses and culminated in an assault on the Capitol. In parallel, Twitter endorses the role of journalism (@ABC, @AP, @CBSNews, @CNN, @FoxNews, @NBCNews, and @Reuters) as a gatekeeper to lies on the Internet. The aim of this study is to determined how the media treated the electoral process on their Twitter accounts, analyze the strategies they followed to combat Trump’s fallacy, and verify the extent to which they contributed or not to the spread of the conspiracy theory. Using a general sample of tweets (n1 = 3,577), we applied a comparative content analysis methodology with a three-pronged approach (quantitative-qualitative-discursive) based on the use of keyword indicators (n2 = 34,430). The results confirm that the media offered verified content on the electoral process, using different sources and avoiding reproduction of Donald Trump’s delegitimization speech. In general, they engaged in a fight against the theory of electoral fraud, against disinformation, and against the polarization of citizens, which are factors that have marked a scenario of doubt about the future of democracy.


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Cómo citar

Pérez-Curiel, C., Domínguez-García, R., & Velasco-Molpeceres, A.-M. (2021). High-quality journalism in the face of Donald Trump’s theory of electoral fraud: the information strategy of the media in the 2020 US presidential election. Profesional De La Información, 30(6). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.nov.19



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