11 Dec

Right Wing Highlights Bolsonaro and Michelle as the Protagonists of Milei’s Inauguration on Social Media

Updated 20 de December, 2023 at 10:16 am

  • Supporters saw the presence of the former president in Javier Milei’s inauguration as a strengthening of the right in Latin America;
  • Photos of Michelle Bolsonaro beside the former president showed the strength of the former first lady on social media;
  • Bolsonaro’s allies dominated the debate on all platforms analyzed, while government allies were not able to promote the narrative that the former president is isolated.

 

Former President Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle stood out in the Brazilian debate about the inauguration of Argentine President Javier Milei. While “Bolsonaro’s entourage” – which included political leaders associated with the former president – mobilized the networks to celebrate the moment as a victory of the Brazilian right, government allies had a low presence in the debate. Those were the findings of a study by FGV Comunicação Rio, which analyzed posts about Javier Milei’s inauguration on X, Facebook and Instagram between December 4 and 11 (until 1pm).

On X, most of the debate happened with a significant participation of the opposition, seeking to politically demoralize President Lula and increase Bolsonaro’s political prestige on the occasion of Milei’s inauguration. In turn, photos of Michelle and of São Paulo Governor Tarcísio Gomes had a wide circulation on Facebook and Instagram, making them stand out as Bolsonaro’s direct “political inheritors”.

 

Debate on Javier Milei’s Inauguration in Brazil

 

Major terms about the topic on X
Period: December 4 to 11 at 1pm
Number of posts: 120,400

Source: X | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI

 

  • The set of the most frequent terms on X indicates an important participation of the opposition to the government in order to politically demoralize President Lula and increase Bolsonaro’s political prestige on Milei’s inauguration. In this context, users attributed terms such as “diplomatic dwarf” and “the true head of State” to Lula and Bolsonaro, respectively.
  • The central idea was that Milei allegedly broke the ceremony’s protocol by giving Bolsonaro a chair that heads of State should have occupied. This narrative became stronger in the debate despite the presence of government allies arguing that Bolsonaro was isolated and booed during the inauguration, in addition to being stopped from taking a picture with other chiefs of State;
  • Michelle Bolsonaro’s presence was also the topic of a dispute of narratives in both political sectors. While government allies claimed she was dressed inadequately, the opposition argued that Brazil “misses the good taste and elegance” of the former first lady, with derogatory comments about Janja da Silva.

 

Major news links about the topic on Facebook
Period: December 4 to 11 at 1pm
Number of Links: 1,364

Source: Facebook | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI

 

  • Right-wing media outlets such as Jornal da Cidade Online and Jovem Pan News dominated the debate. A frequent argument used in news by Jornal da Cidade Online is the claim that Bolsonaro has international prestige, while Lula does not. There is also a belief that that Bolsonaro is more popular than Lula and that the electoral system wronged him in the elections, which Milei allegedly recognized indirectly by inviting him to his inauguration;
  • Like on X, Michelle Bolsonaro‘s presence also stood out on Facebook. The second most prominent link mentions her as the “eternal first lady of Brazil” and compares her to Janja, who the JCO calls “dazzled” and “messy”. The significant attention paid to Michelle’s presence at the event suggests a recurring attempt by a portion of the right wing to boost the former first lady’s political capital;

 

Major posts and interactions about the topic on Facebook and Instagram
Period: December 4 to 11 at 1pm
Number of posts on Facebook: 3,228
Number of posts on Instagram: 1,952

Source: Facebook and Instagram | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI

 

  • The presence of Tarcísio Gomes – and, once again, of Michelle Bolsonaro – dominated the posts on Facebook and Instagram. On Instagram, a post made by Tarcísio’s official profile at the ceremony had the highest level of engagement. However, there were multiple and significant publications containing images of the former first lady at the event, especially in the moment when she posed alongside Bolsonaro and Milei, which reiterates her popularity on the platform;
  • In addition to the official pages of Bolsonaro, Michelle and Tarcísio, pages of journalists, supporters and enthusiasts of Bolsonaro’s alleged candidacy in 2026 stood out on the platform, indicating the leading role of the far right in the debate about Milei’s inauguration on both platforms.

 

Congressional debate about the topic on Facebook and Instagram
Period: December 4 to 11 at 1pm
Number of posts on Facebook: 103
Number of posts on Instagram: 95

Source: Facebook and Instagram | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI

 

  • Right-wing congress representatives highlighted their arrival in Argentina for Javier Milei’s inauguration, emphasizing that they were watching the event as part of “Bolsonaro’s entourage”. In the posts, deputies and senators shared photos of congress representatives next to Bolsonaro and images of the former president alongside Milei were shared;
  • The posts celebrated Milei’s inauguration as an achievement for the Latin American right, placing Bolsonaro alongside the recently inaugurated Argentine president as today’s great leaders of the right. In this context, videos and photos showing Bolsonaro appearing alongside political leaders or the Argentine people reinforced the former Brazilian president’s image as a statesman;
  • Although right-wing representatives were a majority among the posts with the highest volume of engagement on both platforms, there was some content posted by representatives allied with the government. These posts stood out by revealing that local authorities stopped Bolsonaro from appearing in a photo with heads of State during the inauguration ceremony. However, the leading role in the publications remained firmly in the hands of Bolsonaro’s allies.