This study aims to investigate the discursive strategies of manipulation and their realizations in political speeches about COVID-19 pandemic delivered by Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. The scheme of manipulation strategies proposed by van Dijk was used to analyze the data. The findings show that the manipulation in both speeches is delivered through ideological polarization, discrediting the others, emotionalizing the argument, emphasizing the power, moral superiority and credibility of the speaker, and adducing seemingly irrefutable proofs of the speaker’s beliefs and reasons. Among these strategies, ideological polarization is the most frequent strategy used by both speakers. Polarization can indoctrinate a community with shared beliefs and values because of its close relation with particular ideology and belief. These findings add to a growing body of work on discursive manipulation, suggesting that political discourse can be a potential source of societal manipulation. Most importantly, these results draw a point whereby ideological polarization is the most effective and prevailing category while adducing seemingly indisputable proofs of the speaker’s beliefs appears to be less compelling.
- critical discourse analysis
- discursive manipulation strategies
- ideological polarization
- political discourse