• broken image

    Presented at the 64th International Studies Association Annual Conference, Montreal, March 2023

     Donald Trumpwas a disruptive figure in world politics and used social media prolifically to spread disinformation about China in racialized, xenophobic, and protectionist ways, leading to an increased level of anti-Asian sentiment in the US. When Biden became president, questions arose as to whether he would ‘right the ship’ and revert to previous norms. Because Internet memes are a ubiquitous form of public discourse, a comparative analysis of memes relating to Trump and Biden’s US-China foreign policy provides critical insight. Through a combined methodology, this research examined public perception of Trump, Biden, their foreign policies with China, the difference between perception and reality, and themes of constructed ideologies such as nationalism, racism, and xenophobia. Results show that memes allow fact and fiction to become blurred, truth dependent on perspective, and emotions exploited. Memetic disinformation is common and problematic, affecting public opinion, public policy, international relations, and world politics.

    Full Text