- They did it!
- The content, effects, and mechanisms of blame attribution in populist communication
- Award date
- 21 June 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The media are assumed to play a key role in the dissemination of populist ideas among society. It has even been argued that the media have partially caused populism’s success. Yet, to date, there has been limited empirical research on the populist content of the media, and the persuasiveness of such populist ideas. Against this backdrop, this dissertation aims to provide comprehensive insights into how populist ideas are expressed by the media, interpreted by citizens, and how populist ideas may affect citizens’ political perceptions.
Defining the core idea of populism as the attribution of blame for the people’s problems to the elites or societal out-groups, this dissertation demonstrates that populism in the media is mostly present in tabloid media and in conjunction with an interpretative journalistic style. People who are exposed to such blame attributions are more likely to perceive the elites as causally responsible. Moreover, receivers’ anti-establishment and exclusionist populist attitudes are activated by exposure to populist messages. The effects of populist communication are strongest if the message is congruent with citizens’ priors.
Taken together, in the midst of the rise of populist movements and the importance ascribed to the media, this dissertation provides substantial insights into how the media may use populism, and how these populist ideas affect citizens’ political attitudes. Therefore, this dissertation has provided important insights into how the media may have contributed to the rise of populism throughout the globe.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Chapter 1: Shoot the messenger? The media’s role in framing populist attributions of blame (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Chapter 2: To whom are “the people” opposed? Conceptualizing and measuring citizens’ populist attitudes as a multidimensional construct (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Chapter 3: The appeal of media populism: The media preferences of citizens with populist attitudes (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Chapter 4: “They did it”: The effects of emotionalized blame attribution in populist communication (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Chapter 5: Framing blame: Toward a better understanding of the effects of populist communication on populist party preferences (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Chapter 6: Selective exposure to media populism: How attitudinal congruence drives the effects of populist attributions of blame (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
Appendices Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 (Embargo up to and including 21 June 2019)
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