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Populists prefer social media over talk shows: an analysis of populist messages and stylistic elements across six countries


Ernst, Nicole; Blassnig, Sina; Engesser, Sven; Büchel, Florin; Esser, Frank (2019). Populists prefer social media over talk shows: an analysis of populist messages and stylistic elements across six countries. Social Media and Society, 5(1):1-14.

Abstract

For studying populism in a hybrid and high-choice media environment, the comparison of various media channels is especially instructive. We argue that populism-related communication is a combination of key messages (content) and certain stylistic devices (form), and we compare their utilization by a broad range of political actors on Facebook, Twitter, and televised talk shows across six countries (CH, DE, FR, IT, UK, and US). We conducted a content analysis of social media and talk show statements (N = 2067) from 31 parties during a nonelection period of 3 months in 2015. We place special emphasis on stylistic devices and find that they can be grouped into three dimensions—equivalent to three dimensions used for populist key messages. We further find that political parties are generally more inclined to use populism-related communication on Facebook and Twitter than in political talk shows and that both new challenger parties and extreme parties use higher amounts of populist key messages and style elements.

Abstract

For studying populism in a hybrid and high-choice media environment, the comparison of various media channels is especially instructive. We argue that populism-related communication is a combination of key messages (content) and certain stylistic devices (form), and we compare their utilization by a broad range of political actors on Facebook, Twitter, and televised talk shows across six countries (CH, DE, FR, IT, UK, and US). We conducted a content analysis of social media and talk show statements (N = 2067) from 31 parties during a nonelection period of 3 months in 2015. We place special emphasis on stylistic devices and find that they can be grouped into three dimensions—equivalent to three dimensions used for populist key messages. We further find that political parties are generally more inclined to use populism-related communication on Facebook and Twitter than in political talk shows and that both new challenger parties and extreme parties use higher amounts of populist key messages and style elements.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:Populist communication, Facebook, Twitter, challenger parties, extreme parties
Language:English
Date:16 January 2019
Deposited On:13 Mar 2019 11:21
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:22
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:2056-3051
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305118823358

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