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Orange man bad: Russiagate, the rise of boomer journalism, narrative and pro-social lying.

Majin, G., 2023. Orange man bad: Russiagate, the rise of boomer journalism, narrative and pro-social lying. In: Boyd-Barrett, O. and Marmura, S., eds. Russiagate revisited: The aftermath of a hoax. Palgrave Macmillan, 65-86.

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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-30940-3_4


This chapter argues Russiagate reveals something profound about the changing nature of journalism. Although journalism had been evolving for decades, Russiagate acted as a catalyst making the change clear and visible. The metamorphosis is best understood through the lens of generational cohort theory which reveals a shift from Victorian Liberal Journalism – which privileges the impartial search for truth, to Boomer Journalism – which privileges journalism’s ethical-political responsibilities. Boomer Journalism is characterized by the dominance of narrative and its tolerance of pro-social lying. The election of President Trump sparked a moral panic because he rejected much of the ideology of the Boomer generation. The mainstream media responded by constructing a narrative in which Donald Trump was ‘Orange Man Bad’ – a folk devil who sought a return to the values of the pre-Boomer era. To test this hypothesis, this chapter examines two news stories that show Donald Trump’s political opponents in a bad light. What is found is that mainstream journalism did not report these stories symmetrically – i.e., in the same way it reported Russiagate. It is concluded that Russiagate was an historically significant moment of rupture revealing the extent to which mainstream journalism has changed.

Item Type:Book Section
Number of Pages:21
Uncontrolled Keywords:Trump; Fake news; Russiagate; Baby Boomers; generational cohort theory; folk devil; moral panic
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:40062
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:25 Jun 2024 16:01
Last Modified:25 Jun 2024 16:01


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