My Reality Is More Truthful Than Yours: Radical Right-Wing Politicians’ and Citizens’ Construction of “Fake” and “Truthfulness” on Social Media—Evidence From the United States and The Netherlands

Michael Hameleers


Although a growing body of literature has provided important insight into the conceptualization and consequences of mis- and disinformation, we know little about the construction of communicative (un)truthfulness online. Because (partisan) attributions of dishonesty and inaccuracy may influence citizens’ political opinions, and because accusations of fake news can be used to delegitimize political opponents and the media, it is important to understand how politicians and citizens construct different versions of (un)truthfulness. We specifically look at how (radical) right-wing populist politicians and citizens attribute antimedia and anti-elite sentiments in digital media settings. Against this backdrop, this article relies on two qualitative content analyses in the United States and The Netherlands to understand how discourses around (1) the epistemic status of facts and (2) inaccurate and (3) dishonest information are constructed by (radical) right-wing populists and citizens participating in Facebook discussions. The results provide important insights into the resonance of the expression of (un)truthfulness with perceptual screens and hostile media perceptions.


disinformation, hostile media perceptions, misinformation, motivated reasoning, partisanship, right-wing populism

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