Populist candidates in the age of social media: Media portrayals of Jair Bolsonaro's presidential bid in Brazil

Authored by: Heloisa Sturm Wilkerson

The Routledge Companion to Political Journalism

Print publication date:  October  2021
Online publication date:  October  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367248222
eBook ISBN: 9780429284571
Adobe ISBN:


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The 2018 national election in Brazil is an example of recent electoral cycles where populist candidates were able to capitalize on their media exposure using non-traditional channels. Within this context, this study examines the key features of news coverage of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential bid in Brazil in relation to his use of social media during the electoral cycle. First, the chapter examines the characteristics of the Brazilian political and media systems, using the US system as a point of comparison. Then, applying the literature of framing political campaigns, this analysis explores the phenomenon of frame building by examining the extent to which Bolsonaro’s social media discourse, including his frames, issues and emotional appeals, have resonated with the media and have been incorporated in news coverage of the presidential campaign.

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