The Language Impact of COVID-19 in the Spanish Online Press: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Hate Speech
Purpose: This research addresses the study of the main lexical patterns, in the form of insults, used in the Spanish digital press, that might fall within the category of so-called ‘hate crimes’, and aims to discover whether there are specific sections within the newspapers in question wherein incidences of ‘hate crime’ are particularly prevalent. Design/methodology/approach: As a corpus, we analyse the online versions of the four Spanish newspapers with the largest circulations in September 2021, according to the OJD (Spanish Audit Bureau of Circulation). The study is initially limited to one year, between March 14, 2020 (the date on which Spain declared a state of emergency over COVID-19) and March 14, 2021. Two tools are established as a starting point, Hatebase and Tus insultos más usados (Your most used insults), to analyse four of the most widely read national Spanish newspapers. Findings: The data produced show that Spanish newspapers do not incite hatred, but are merely mirrors of reality, with significant differences between the newspapers in terms of the number of insults collected. In addition, we noted no greater social tension during the pandemic, from the linguistic point of view, in the media analysed.