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The Effects of Right-Wing Populist Communication on Emotions and Cognitions toward Immigrants


Wirz, Dominique S; Wettstein, Martin; Schulz, Anne; Müller, Philipp; Schemer, Christian; Ernst, Nicole; Esser, Frank; Wirth, Werner (2018). The Effects of Right-Wing Populist Communication on Emotions and Cognitions toward Immigrants. International Journal of Press/Politics, 23(4):496-516.

Abstract

The persuasiveness of right-wing populist communication has become a widely discussed topic; it is often assumed that such messages might foster anti-immigrant attitudes among citizens. The present study explores the effects of the different components of right-wing populist communication—anti-immigrant messages, populist content, and populist style—on attitudes toward immigrants. By combining a media content analysis (N = 605 articles) with a panel survey (N = 1,968) in metropolitan areas of four Western European countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), this study analyzes how citizens’ attitudes toward immigrants are influenced by the right-wing populist communication with which they are confronted in their individual media diet. The results show that anti-immigrant statements in the media lead to more negative cognitions toward immigrants, while populist content leads to more negative emotions. The study, thus, demonstrates that not only anti-immigrant rhetoric but also populism as a thin-centered ideology influence citizens’ attitudes toward immigrants on top of pre-existing attitudes.

Abstract

The persuasiveness of right-wing populist communication has become a widely discussed topic; it is often assumed that such messages might foster anti-immigrant attitudes among citizens. The present study explores the effects of the different components of right-wing populist communication—anti-immigrant messages, populist content, and populist style—on attitudes toward immigrants. By combining a media content analysis (N = 605 articles) with a panel survey (N = 1,968) in metropolitan areas of four Western European countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), this study analyzes how citizens’ attitudes toward immigrants are influenced by the right-wing populist communication with which they are confronted in their individual media diet. The results show that anti-immigrant statements in the media lead to more negative cognitions toward immigrants, while populist content leads to more negative emotions. The study, thus, demonstrates that not only anti-immigrant rhetoric but also populism as a thin-centered ideology influence citizens’ attitudes toward immigrants on top of pre-existing attitudes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science, Communication
Language:English
Date:1 October 2018
Deposited On:29 Nov 2018 13:43
Last Modified:29 Nov 2018 13:43
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:1940-1612
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161218788956
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID51NF40-151577
  • : Project TitleChallenges to Democracy in the 21st Century (Phase 3)

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