Means of Influence on Public Opinion in Political Context: Speech Manipulation in the Media

© Media Watch 10 (2) 309-322, 2019

ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2019/v10i2/49625


Means of Influence on Public Opinion in Political Context: Speech Manipulation in the Media


1Tyumen Industrial University, Russian Federation

2,3MGIMO University, Russian Federation


The manipulation problem in the media has been still pressing. Processes and techniques intended for making an influence on public opinion and behaviors are in ongoing improvement, making it difficult to access an objective image of the world. Therefore, this research aims at emphasizing the importance of speech (language) means that form a basis of manipulations in mass communications. To achieve this, authors have provided the systematization of social influence processes in the media and made techniques and means of speech influence clearer. Authors provided a content analysis of texts of 2018 from the media using news resources of different countries (‘Russia Today,’ ‘RIA Novosti,’ ‘Ukrinform’ and ‘Fox News Channel’) as an example. The research subject consists of news materials of a politico-social nature on Russia’s participation in the Syrian conflict. Authors have empirically revealed a clear desire to influence readers of the media resources using covert means of the manipulative influence. In total, they have found five types of manipulative speech influence in texts of the media. There are self-presentation, semantic speech strategies, persuasive strategies, hit piece and information manipulation. A lexical toolkit of speech manipulation includes euphemisms, dysphemisms, slogan words, speech metaphorization, etc. Media texts have become more and more complicated as they contain hints, precedent phenomena, irony, as well as metamessages of informative presentation. Each media of the selected ones more or less uses means of speech manipulation in varying degrees. Applications of such methods of influence (in number) almost directly depend on a political attitude towards an object.

Keywords: Media, manipulation processes, public opinion and behaviors, speech means of influence, advocacy


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Anna V. Kalinina (Ph.D., Tyumen State University, 2006) is an Associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Municipal Management at Tyumen Industrial University (Tyumen, Russian Federation). Her research interests are non-commercial advertising, mass communications, employment, territory branding, problems of society, history, economic sustainability, political and social advertising, public relations, political processes.

Elena E. Yusupova (Ph.D., MGIMO University, 2003) is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Journalism and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of International Journalism at MGIMO University (Moscow, Russian Federation). Her research interests are international journalism, mass media, information space, CIS media, mass communication, theory and methodology of higher education, communication technologies, media text.

Elena V. Voevoda (Dr. habil., Federal Institute for Educational Development, 2011) is Head of Department of Pedagogy and Psychology, Professor of the English Language Department #2 in MGIMO University (Moscow, Russian Federation). Her research interests are cross-cultural psychology, intercultural communication, education.