The handling of political disinformation in the TV series “Yes, Minister” (BBC, 1980-1984) and its impact on YouTube



Yes, Minister is a series that has been part of the collective imagination of citizens in many English-speaking countries since the 1980s, in which disinformation is frequently used or mentioned by its main characters. Its enormous impact has been long-lasting, and in recent years it has gained special prominence on YouTube. The objectives of this paper are the following: a) to quantify the presence of fragments of the series Yes, Minister on YouTube, including their titles, the episodes to which they belong, their duration and the number of views and comments; and b) to analyse the processes, strategies and mechanisms of disinformation in these fragments. To this end, we first described the fragments with more than 200,000 views, of which there were forty. After this analysis, we chose the videos with more than 400,000 views and, in those, analysed the processes, strategies and mechanisms of disinformation. There were twenty-two such documents and they contained as many as 125 samples of disinformation: mostly associated with the process of concealment, followed by blurring and, thirdly, invention. We went on to check for the presence of the nine strategies linked to these processes (abolition, segmentation, deviation, saturation, alteration, divergence, impersonation, incorporation and transformation). Abolition and alteration predominated. Finally, we described the main mechanisms by which these strategies materialised, which included contradiction, confusion, ambiguity, exaggeration, interruption, separation and assignment. We conclude that the publication of the series fragments on the networks indicates public interest in political disinformation. Their use in formal educational contexts, based on analyses such as the one in this paper, is a valuable approach for dealing with discursive processes and mechanisms of disinformation in different areas of knowledge.


political disinformation, disinformation strategies, TV series, Yes, Minister, YouTube


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Author Biography

Antonio M. Bañón Hernández, Universidad de Almería

Catedrático de Lengua Española. Departamento de Filología. Centros de Investigación en Comunicación y Sociedad. IP Grupo de Investigación ECCO (Estudios Críticos sobre la Comunicación). Universidad de Almería.




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