Headlines as Fake News: Discursive Deception in Serbia’s Daily Informer (2012–2018)

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Abstract

Since the end of the wars of Yugoslav secession, and since Kosovo’s declaration of independence, the Balkans—Serbia included—have taken a back seat in academic research. Even though media freedoms have been severely stifled following the coming to power of Aleksandar Vučić in 2012, today’s Serbian media are still failing to become a topic for scholarly research. In this article, we scrutinize the daily Informer, the unofficial daily of Serbia’s strongman, president Vučić, via a discourse analysis of its headlines. As shall be shown, the Informer supports the reign of Aleksandar Vučić by framing him as a hero and martyr, fighting for the ‘people’, in a highly populist fashion, discursively painting the opposition in a highly negative light, as well as promoting warmongering and the idea that Serbia is surrounded by enemies. This is achieved via discursive deception, bases on assertive rhetoric, filled with exaggerations.

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