27 Aug

In a week of interviews, Lula’s support group corresponds to more than 64% of the profiles on Twitter

Updated 29 de September, 2022 at 10:28 am

  • A group supporting the former president celebrates his performance in the interview to Globo’s Jornal Nacional, with emphasis on statements about the economy;
    Mention of video with irony over death by suffocation leverages health as main theme associated with Bolsonaro;
  • Ciro Gomes had a low volume of mentions, but mostly positive ones. While supporters declare their vote, critics point out inconsistencies and difficulty in implementing his proposals;
    While supporters praise the candidates’ performance, making statements about their votes, critics point out inconsistency and lies in the answers;
  • TV news anchors are accused of being biased by a group linked to Bolsonaro;

The interview granted by the main presidential candidates to Jornal Nacional highlighted the debate about the 2022 elections. Those were the findings of a survey by the School of Communication, Media and Information (FGV ECMI), which identified 11.89 million mentions to the electoral debate between August 22nd and 26th. Mentions associated with the presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro, Ciro Gomes, and Lula, who are in the top positions in the electoral polls, were evaluated.

The debate related to health, corruption, and economy was highlighted in the mentions of the candidates, especially the repercussion of statements made by the candidates and the “checking” of the information, undertaken by the users themselves, through videos and images that confirm or deny the answers of the candidates. Criticism to the way hosts William Bonner and Renata Vasconcelos conducted the interview has also echoed, especially among right wing profiles, who accuse the news program of treating guests differently.
Presidential candidates

Map of interactions in mentions to presidential candidates in the debate about the elections on Twitter
Period: August 22 to 25

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Left wing – 64.0% of profiles | 41.7% of interactions
Group formed by left wing politicians, influencers and journalists, with a major highlight on @LulaOficial. Lula presented an important majority reach, including significant points of contact with the so-called third way with regard to common stances against Jair Bolsonaro. Most prominent messages focused on pointing out the “untruths” said by Bolsonaro and the “poor” performance attributed to the candidate in the interview. Excerpts from the interview with Lula, shared by the official profile of the presidential candidate, contributed to increase the reach of his support base, as well as the announcement of influencer Felipe Neto to allocate his vote to the candidate of PT. In addition, Bolsonaro’s request to the TSE to ban the airing of a video in which he imitated Covid-19’s patients with shortness of breath, which has been echoed since the live mention of the episode on JN, was mobilized by the left wing base in the speech against the president.

Right wing – 24.4% of profiles | 48.7% of interactions
Group formed by right wing influencers, politicians, journalists, who support President @jairbolsonaro. The content in which president Jair Bolsonaro talks about the interview in an ironic way and thanks singer Anitta for releasing an image of what was written on the president’s hand during the JN interview is highlighted on the platform. The presidential candidate’s supporters also criticized William Bonner and Renata Vasconcelos for the conduct of the interview, claiming that the president could not speak, was treated in an aggressive manner, and comparing it to the interview done to presidential candidate Ciro Gomes the next day. The group also criticized the TSE, claiming that Bolsonaro suffers judicial “persecution” and sharing a video in which the president extols the Armed Forces, which was removed from Bolsonaro’s profile at the request of Minister Alexandre de Moraes.

Third way – 5.1% of profiles | 8.3% of interactions
Group composed of journalists, influencers and artists who support the presidential candidate @cirogomes. The group extols the qualities of Ciro Gomes and affirms that he is the most prepared candidate to be president. They still declare their vote for the candidate and regret the possibility that the economic project presented by Ciro in the interview will not be put into practice. The group also compares him to Bolsonaro and Lula, saying that both have already had their chance and have no proposals for the country.


Major tweets inside the groups in the map of interactions
Period: August 22 to 25

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Mentions to the presidential candidates on Twitter
Period: August 22 to 26

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • With a peak still during the interview, the mentions to Jair Bolsonaro were mostly negative, mobilizing feelings of dislike for the candidate, mainly related to the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the following hours, criticism to the interviewers rose, indicating a mobilization of the ruling base to attest to the journalists’ unpreparedness. The mentions to Bolsonaro grew again during Lula’s interview, with comparisons that make explicit a supposed superiority of Lula;
  • There were few posts about Ciro Gomes, even during his interview, the moment in which most mentions to the candidate were detected. The positive tone of these mentions prevailed, with praises for Ciro’s arguments and preparation, indicating that he would be ideal to represent the third way. However, soon after the interview, mentions to the candidate fell again, representing a tiny portion of the more general debate about the presidential candidates;
  • When comparing the peak times of mentions to Lula, Ciro, and Bolsonaro, Lula stands out, with about 61% more mentions than Bolsonaro. In these posts, expressions of support for Lula, praise for his oratory, and comments expressing eagerness for Lula to return to governing the country are prevalent. Still, the debate was disputed by the ruling base, which used hashtags such as #LADRAONOJN (Thief in JN) and #Bonnertchutchucadoladrao (Bonner, thief’s tchutchuca).

Jair Bolsonaro in Jornal Nacional

Association between president Bolsonaro and topics mentioned in the Jornal Nacional interview
Period: August 22 to 23

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • On health, criticism towards Bolsonaro for disrespecting victims and family members by imitating a person with shortness of breath was prevalent. The criticism intensified after Bolsonaro denied doing it in the interview, which generated a mass sharing of the video proving the action. The hashtag #BolsonaroMentiroso (Bolsonaro liar) and the term “disgusting” circulated in this debate;
  • Criticism was also prominent in economics, with publications claiming that Bolsonaro had lied in his speeches about PIX and about emergency aid. Some people address Bolsonaro in an ironic tone, claiming that the candidate would not be able to take responsibility for the country’s economic problems;
  • On the other hand, Bolsonaro supporters animated the discussion about corruption, sharing widely a tweet by Eduardo Bolsonaro, who justifies the close relationship between the president and the “centrão”. The narrative indicates that Bolsonaro needed to ally with this group to be able to govern. Criticism towards the president, associated with the debate about security, is also present, ironizing his statements about an alleged interference in the Federal Police and about there being no corruption in his government;
  • Tensions between the president and the public institutions of the judiciary also reverberate, especially after Bolsonaro denied having insulted ministers of the STF. The dialogue generated critical comments about Bolsonaro, claiming that he had been contradicted on national media. The threats to democracy appeared much more laterally in the debate;
  • Bolsonaro’s talk about the constant changing of education ministers also echoed widely, although in a more scattered and disputed way. On the one hand, there is an association between the conduct of the portfolio and corruption scandals, criticizing the government. On the other, supporters of the president corroborate his speech to JN, saying that Bolsonaro could not have foreseen the problems in the portfolio;
  • Bolsonaro’s alleged lies were also the center of discussion on the environment, with the hashtags #MentirosoNoJN (Liar in JN) and #BolsonaroMentiroso (Bolsonaro liar) featured prominently.


Word cloud of mentions to Bolsonaro in the electoral debate on Twitter
Period: August 22 to 23

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • The term “Liar on JN” was prevalent in mentions of president Bolsonaro and appeared in the various topics on which he was questioned. The contradictory statements about denying and then embracing the “centrão” as political support was one of the points raised;
  • Also highlighted were the candidate’s inconsistencies when he denied having imitated people with shortness of breath, having jeopardized the acquisition of vaccines, denying that Manaus went 9 days without oxygen, besides having minimized the occurrence of corruption cases and environmental setbacks under his government;
  • The denial of the attacks on the STF and the president’s speech stating that he created the PIX were also mentioned. Bolsonaro’s talk about fake news attributed to Bonner, regarding the president’s attacks on the STF ministers, was appropriated in an ironic manner by users throughout the interview;
  • The term “Disproving Bolsonaro” was frequently evoked to counter the candidate’s answers in the interview with previous statements that signal the contradictions of his discourse, including videos of his statements about Covid-19 and vaccination;
  • In the group of Bolsonaro supporters, the general reading was that the candidate’s appearance on Jornal Nacional symbolized an affront to the network, which would have a biased perspective on the president’s administration. The argument that the candidate would hold a “Globociata”, in reference to the motorcades supporting his government, and that he would “humiliate” the network with “truths”, was recurrent. The group also celebrated the president’s participation, saying that it was only with his presence that they could stand watching Rede Globo’s programming and pointing out that, even with the interviewers’ lack of professionalism, Bolsonaro would be victorious in the first round of the elections;

Ciro Gomes in Jornal Nacional

Association between Ciro Gomes and topics mentioned in the Jornal Nacional interview
Period: August 23 to 24

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • Discussions about the economy are predominant in the debate about Ciro Gomes, with comments about some of the proposals made by the candidate during the interview. The tone of support for Ciro is prominent, but criticisms have also been mapped out that indicate that the presidential candidate could have used terms more accessible to the electorate;
  • The security agenda also stands out among the mentions of the candidate, through comparisons made between Ciro and the candidates Lula and Bolsonaro, characterized, respectively, as “thief” and “genocidist”. Thus, the narrative that stands out points out that, while Lula and Bolsonaro would be criminals, Ciro is configured as a more honest candidate;
  • The topic of the environment, on the other hand, was echoed by references to Ciro’s campaign, which metaphorically indicates that “the dam will burst,” to the extent that the candidate manages to reach the electorate. Criticism towards the candidate environmental policy has also been mapped out;
  • The same rhetoric of safety is maintained in the debate about corruption, with praise and defense indicating that Ciro is not corrupt like other candidates. The hashtag #PrefiroCiro (I prefer Ciro) and the expression “My candidate is clean record” have echoed widely. The complimentary tone is maintained in the discussions about education, which compare Ciro’s oratory to Bolsonaro’s, indicating that Ciro has much to contribute to the portfolio;
  • Ciro’s criticism, during the interview, towards the Bolsonaro government’s position on the Covid-19 pandemic moved the discussions about health, maintaining the mostly positive tenor of the mentions about the PDT candidate.

Word cloud of mentions to Ciro Gomes in the electoral debate on Twitter
Period: August 23 to 24

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • Ciro motivated different readings about his participation in Jornal Nacional. Noteworthy were the winning of votes by users convinced by the candidate’s proposals, criticism towards what would be an unrealistic government plan, and comparisons with Jair Bolsonaro’s interview by profiles aligned to the president – from a supposedly milder tone by the interviewers to the discrepant difference in the audience of the interviews;
  • The expression “Tigrão with Bolsonaro, tchutchuca with Ciro” went viral on right wing profiles by pointing out the difference in tone of the interviewers with the presidential candidates. While the interview with Bolsonaro would have been an “attack” with trick questions, the interview with Ciro would have taken on a propositional and friendly tone, which would be, according to Bolsonaro profiles, a strategy by “Globolixo”, as they refer to the network, to damage the reelection of their candidate;
  • The phrase “Bonner forgot the arrogance”, which went viral when shared by the base pro-Bolsonaro, also signals a difference in tone in the interviews: while William Bonner would have been arrogant and scornful to Bolsonaro, he would have adopted a friendly approach with Ciro. The expression “take medicine” also appeared frequently, suggesting that Bonner “took medicine” and therefore did not “tremble” as he would have done in the interview with Bolsonaro;
  • Ciro’s support base made the term “Ciro’s problem” viral by pointing out ironic reasons why he would not have been elected yet and is not ahead in the polls. “Most prepared candidate” also circulated among supporters of the presidential candidate;
  • Other users appropriated the expression “Ciro’s problem” and suggested reasons that would explain the distance between Ciro and his main competitors, such as the political polarization in the country, insufficient popularity, and the difficulty of explaining his government plan and main proposals to the general public.


Lula in Jornal Nacional

Association between Lula and topics mentioned in the Jornal Nacional interview
Period: August 25 to 26

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • In economics, there is some thematic fragmentation, with the predominance of two narratives: positive comments about Lula’s perspective on agribusiness; and criticism towards the JN’s crew for the choice of questions, leaving aside relevant issues, such as debt and unemployment. Both discussions indicate, for the most part, support for the presidential candidate;
    On the other hand, the base against PT appeared more in the debate about security, with criticism towards Lula’s talk about corruption and comments calling him a “bandit” and a “thief”. Lula’s speech about Bolsonaro’s supposed interference in the Federal Police was mobilized by his supporters, indicating that he had mentioned a key issue, thus irritating Senator Flávio Bolsonaro;
  • The critical tone towards Lula is the majority of the comments that claim that the former president admitted, during the interview, the existence of corruption in his government. The triggered narrative recalled different scandals, such as the Mensalão and Petrolão, and made extensive use of terms like “Luladrão” (Lula thief). In public institutions, the rhetoric remained the same, with criticism towards the Brazilian judiciary for overturning Lula’s convictions;
  • Lula’s speeches about agribusiness and the MST also moved the debate about the environment, with complimentary comments about the candidate. Renata Vasconcellos has been criticized for claiming that environment and agribusiness go hand in hand;
  • Issues concerning education appeared similarly in the debate, with positive and affectionate comments claiming that the Lula government’s investments have changed many people’s lives. Health appeared in a much more lateral way, with emphasis on criticism towards the interviewers of JN for not questioning the candidate on issues concerning the Covid-19 pandemic.


Word cloud of mentions to Lula in the electoral debate on Twitter
Period: August 25 to 26

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • The general tenor of the comments regarding Lula’s interview on JN was complimentary, with emphasis on what would be a respectful attitude towards the interviewer Renata Vasconcelos, the candidate’s resourcefulness in answering questions about corruption and the assessment of the Bolsonaro government;
  • The term “court jester”, directed by Lula to Bolsonaro, was frequently mobilized by users critical of the president. Lula’s speech was read as a direct and synthetic attack on Bolsonaro, constituting one of the highlights of the debate within the left wing circuits;
  • The terms “to vote for Lula”, “I vote for Lula” have acquired relevance especially from content declaring a vote for the president and praising Lula’s combative stance towards Bolsonaro. There are also comments from users stating that they were going to vote for Ciro and Bolsonaro, but changed their voting choice;
  • The moment of the interview in which Lula says that Bolsonaro is not in charge of anything and is a court jester when talking about the secret budget also had wide repercussions, especially among supporters of the former president. The president’s speech about the secret budget and the mensalão was also used by critics, who claimed, in a victory tone, that Lula admitted that Bolsonaro is blameless and a hostage of Congress. The former president was also praised for his response regarding Dilma’s government;
  • The expression “fake news” has acquired relevance in the debate after Vasconcelos’ statement about the MST invading productive land. For Lula, this would be an untruth, which mobilized both the left wing base and profiles pro-Bolsonaro. The term “blatantly lied” appeared as a result of Sergio Moro’s comment before the interview. Lula was still criticized by the right wing for saying that fighting corruption causes unemployment;
  • Overall, the base pro-Bolsonaro showed significantly weaker engagement capacity compared to the base pro-Lula during the candidate’s interview. Right wing profiles articulated themselves mainly around the argument that the interview was an “electoral propaganda”, which would have contrasted with the “attack” atmosphere in the interview with Bolsonaro.