Fake news as meta-mimesis: imitative genres and storytelling in the Philippines, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine
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POPULAR INQUIRY: The Journal of the Aesthetics of Kitsch, Camp and Mass Culture, 5(2021):1
AbstractWe propose to consider “fake news” as a genre with its own conventions and narrative devices dependent on those of mainstream journalism. Departing from genre theory, “culture jamming” practice and Barnhurst and Nerone’s (2002) concept of journalist modernism rooted in Louis Althusser’s idea of form as the principal expression of ideology, we intend to highlight empirically how mainstream media storytelling is hacked, imitated and hijacked by “fake news” in the four countries that are known to have populist leaders and significant circulation of viral disinformation. Focused on empirical cases from Brazil under Bolsonaro, the Philippines under Duterte, Russia under Putin and Ukraine under Zelensky, this article draws significant comparisons between different cultures and traditions of journalist storytelling in the global peripheries concluding that while “fake news” can be subverting mainstream or integrating with it, even the most distant cases share the common basis of meta-mimesis, imitation of other texts. By way of distancing from the overpublicised cases of Donald Trump or Brexit, we also contribute to de-Westernizing media studies.
fake news, genre, culture jamming, Brazil, Philippines, Russia, Ukraine