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Rumor Bombs and Popular Cultural Sources of Populist Propaganda in Turkey

Sun, May 27, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton Old Town, Floor: M, Mozart I


Post-truth age reached Turkey well before Brexit and Trump and it is here to stay. This paper examines how the Turkish government and government-linked circles mobilize rumor bombs (Harsin, 2015) within social and televisual media for purposes of online misinformation and intimidation, “fact checking,” and populist discourse based on xenophobia. It analyzes the cases of online trolls, fact-checking Twitter accounts, and historical dramas, and explores how these concerted efforts engage in a media war to suppress online dissent and mobilize new supporters across media. In explaining this emotional “post-truth” moment in Turkish media, the paper calls for a productive integration of historical and political economic analyses (Yesil, 2016) and insights from cultural theory to de-exceptionalize the rise of mediatized populism by bringing perspectives from the Global South.