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Favorable opportunity structures for populist communication: comparing different types of politicians and issues in social media, television and the press


Ernst, Nicole; Esser, Frank; Blassnig, Sina; Engesser, Sven (2019). Favorable opportunity structures for populist communication: comparing different types of politicians and issues in social media, television and the press. International Journal of Press/Politics, 24(2):165-188.

Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore favorable opportunity structures for populist communication of politicians in Western democracies. We analyze the content and style of 2,517 statements from 103 politicians from six countries (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States) who differ in their party affiliation (populist versus nonpopulist) and hierarchical position (backbencher vs. frontbencher). To learn more about their media strategies and chances of success, we investigate four communication channels (Facebook, Twitter, talk shows, and news media) that systematically differ in their degree of journalistic intervention and examine fourteen often-raised topics that differ in their suitability for populist mobilization. Our content analysis shows the highest probability of populist communication comes from (1) members of populist parties and (2) backbenchers who address (3) mobilizable issues in (4) social media or newspaper articles. We conclude by explaining why populists have become so successful in getting their messages into newspapers.

Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore favorable opportunity structures for populist communication of politicians in Western democracies. We analyze the content and style of 2,517 statements from 103 politicians from six countries (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States) who differ in their party affiliation (populist versus nonpopulist) and hierarchical position (backbencher vs. frontbencher). To learn more about their media strategies and chances of success, we investigate four communication channels (Facebook, Twitter, talk shows, and news media) that systematically differ in their degree of journalistic intervention and examine fourteen often-raised topics that differ in their suitability for populist mobilization. Our content analysis shows the highest probability of populist communication comes from (1) members of populist parties and (2) backbenchers who address (3) mobilizable issues in (4) social media or newspaper articles. We conclude by explaining why populists have become so successful in getting their messages into newspapers.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Populist issues, populist actors, backbenchers, Facebook, Twitter
Language:English
Date:1 April 2019
Deposited On:26 Feb 2019 14:22
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 10:01
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:1940-1612
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161218819430

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