Shock content as a manipulative component of conflict discourse
Difficult socio-political situation in Ukraine creates specific media discourse, which in turn gives rise to a number of phenomena, connected to information war categories, war of meanings, hate speech etc. Active entry of military issues into web news content affects traditional approach to the media-text drafting.
The report examines the trends of shock visual content and its announcement in the web headlines. The influence of the content emotionalization, which is one of the common features for conflict discourse, not only on text style, but also on features of page making, selection and use of photo illustrations, headline creation, is studied. The material covering military developments usually involve deaths, injuries, loss, destruction of settlements as a result of hostilities, that is, they focus on information on suffering of both military and civilians. This results in stronger integration of shock visual content into the news, which in turn may be used as manipulation and propaganda tool. On the one hand it is used to demonstrate crimes of the enemy, on the other — as an evidence of Ukrainian military success. From the point of view of ethic and humanism the justification of such tactic is doubtful in both cases. However, the study shows that open image of death, blood, injuries in the materials and the announcement of such content in headlines are the cause of high popularity of such publications, and this mainstreams the problem of dehumanizing impact both on material’s subjects and on media audience.