Sven Engesser, Nicole Ernst, Florin Büchel, Martin Wettstein, Dominique Stefanie Wirz, Anne Schulz, Philipp Müller, Christian Schemer, Werner Wirth, Frank Esser, Populist Communication in the News Media: The Role of Cultural and Journalistic Factors in Ten Democracies in:

Benjamin Krämer, Christina Holtz-Bacha (Ed.)

Perspectives on Populism and the Media, page 57 - 82

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Series: International Studies on Populism, vol. 7

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Populist Communication in the News Media: The Role of Cultural and Journalistic Factors in Ten Democracies* Sven Engesser, Nicole Ernst, Florin Büchel, Martin Wettstein, Dominique Stefanie Wirz, Anne Schulz, Philipp Müller, Christian Schemer, Werner Wirth & Frank Esser The recent success of populist movements in democratic countries over the world has renewed academic interest in the phenomenon of populism and its driving forces. Special attention has been given to Western democracies, which have seen the formation of a populist block in the European Parliament in 2014, the election of Donald Trump in 2016, and the unexpected political success of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) as a right-wing populist party in the German general elections in 2017. The role of the media in promoting populist ideas has been investigated by several large-scale research projects. These have been based on the assumption that news coverage is crucial to successful populist agenda-setting (Walgrave & de Swert, 2004) and to public promotion of a populist communication style (Mazzoleni, 2008). Numerous recent studies—mainly in single countries or indiscriminately across countries—have investigated what populist communication in mass media entails (Krämer, 2014; Aslanidis, 2018), in what contexts it appears (Aalberg, Esser, Reinemann, Strömbäck, & de Vreese, 2017; Blassnig et al., 2018; Ernst et al., 2017, 2019; Wettstein et al., 2018a), and how it may be assessed in cross-national settings (Esser, Stępińska, & Hopmann, 2017; Wirth et al., 2016). While these studies have greatly enhanced our knowledge of populist movements, their communications, and the media’s role in promoting their issues and ideas, two problems have remained largely unresolved. First, since most studies only focus on single countries, the relative prevalence of populist communication across different countries is difficult to assess. In order to develop a comprehensive, comparable, cross-national picture of the prevalence of populism in mass media, a common research * This study was supported by the National Center of Competence in Research on ‘Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century’ (NCCR Democracy), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. 57 instrument must be applied. Second, most studies have focused on political opportunity structures—such as actors (Blassnig et al., 2018), issues (Ernst et al., 2019), and the political system (Decker, 2012)—to explain the prevalence of populist communication. With the notable exceptions of mediatization (Mazzoleni, 2014; Wettstein et al., 2018b), platform affordances (Ernst et al., 2019), and professional role orientations (Maurer et al., 2019), little attention has been paid to cultural and journalistic context factors that promote populist communication in the news. In this chapter, we seek to fill this gap with data from a large-scale media content analysis of political news in ten countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US). We aim to investigate the role of cultural, organizational, and story-level context factors that may promote populist communication. We intentionally do not focus on such context factors as electoral success of populist actors or the ideological overlap of media outlets and populist movements. Instead, we explore other factors—namely authoritarian attitudes, market orientation, and opinion journalism—that are largely independent of the political reality but may nevertheless increase the chances of populist statements being included in news coverage. Theoretical Background Populism has always been considered a “notoriously vague term” (Canovan, 1999, p. 3), and various definitions have been used at any given moment. However, many scholars agree in regarding populism as “thincentered ideology” (Abts & Rummens, 2007, p. 408; Albertazzi & McDonnell, 2008, p. 3; Hawkins et al., 2018; Kriesi, 2014, p. 362; Mudde, 2004, p. 544; Rooduijn, 2014, p. 727), built on the fundamental antagonism between the ‘good’ homogenous people and the ‘bad’ (also homogenous) elite. While the people are regarded as the ultimate sovereign, the elite are seen as betraying the people and depriving it of its legitimate right to exercise power. 1. Sven Engesser et al. 58 Co nc ep tu al iza tio n an d Op era tio na liz at ion of P op ul ist K ey M ess ag es D im en sio n Ke y M es sa ge U nd er ly in g Id eo lo gy Ca te go rie s D isc re di tin g th e eli te Th e e lit e a re co rr up t. Th e e lit e a re ac cu se d of b ein g m ale vo len t, cr im in al , l az y, stu pi d, ex tre m ist , r ac ist , u nd em oc ra tic , et c. Th e e lit e a re ca lle d na m es . T he el ite ar e d en ied o f h av in g m or ali ty , c ha ris m a, cr ed ib ili ty , i nte lli ge nc e, co m pe te nc e, co ns ist en cy , e tc . An ti- El iti sm Bl am in g th e eli te Th e e lit e a re h ar m fu l. Th e e lit e a re d es cr ib ed as b ei ng a th re at /b ur de n, as b ei ng re sp on sib le fo r a n eg at iv e d ev elo pm en t/ sit ua tio n, o r a s h av in g co m m itt ed a m ist ak e o r c rim e. Th e e lit e a re d es cr ib ed as n ot en ric hi ng o r no t b ein g re sp on sib le fo r a p os iti ve d ev el op m en t/s itu at io n. D et ac hi ng th e e lit e fro m th e p eo pl e Th e e lit e d o no t r ep re se nt th e pe op le . Th e e lit e a re d es cr ib ed as n ot b elo ng in g to th e p eo pl e, no t b ein g clo se to th e p eo pl e, no t k no w in g th e p eo pl e, no t s pe ak in g fo r t he p eo pl e, no t c ar in g fo r t he p eo pl e, or n ot p er fo rm in g ev er yda y a ct io ns . St re ssi ng th e pe op le ’s vi rtu es Th e p eo pl e a re vi rtu ou s. Th e p eo pl e a re b es to w ed w ith m or ali ty , c ha ris m a, cr ed ib ili ty , i nt el lig en ce , c om pe te nc e, co ns iste nc y, et c. Th e p eo pl e a re ab so lv ed o f b ein g m al ev ol en t, cr im in al, la zy , s tu pi d, ex tre m ist , r ac ist , un de m oc ra tic , e tc . Pe op le- Ce nt ris m Pr ais in g th e pe op le’ s a ch iev em en ts Th e p eo pl e a re b en ef ici al. Th e p eo pl e a re d es cr ib ed as en ric hi ng o r b ei ng re sp on sib le fo r a p os iti ve d ev elo pm en t/s itu at io n. Th e p eo pl e a re d es cr ib ed as n ot b ein g a t hr ea t/b ur de n, n ot b ein g re sp on sib le fo r a n eg at iv e d ev el op m en t/s itu at io n, o r n ot h av in g co m m itt ed a m ist ak e o r c rim e. St at in g a m on ol ith ic pe op le Th e p eo pl e a re h om og en ou s. Th e p eo pl e a re d es cr ib ed as sh ar in g co m m on fe eli ng s, de sir es , o r o pi ni on s. D em on str at in g clo se ne ss to th e pe op le Th e p op ul ist re pr es en ts th e pe op le. Th e s pe ak er d es cr ib es h im se lf as b elo ng in g to th e p eo pl e, be in g clo se to th e p eo pl e, kn ow in g th e pe op le, sp ea ki ng fo r t he p eo pl e, ca rin g fo r t he p eo pl e, ag re ein g w ith th e p eo pl e, or p er fo rm in g ev er yd ay ac tio ns . Th e s pe ak er cl aim s t o re pr es en t o r e m bo dy th e p eo pl e. Re sto rin g So ve re ig nt y D em an di ng p op ul ar so ve re ig nt y Th e p eo pl e a re th e u lti m at e so ve re ig n. Th e s pe ak er ar gu es fo r g en er al in sti tu tio na l r ef or m s t o gr an t t he p eo pl e m or e p ow er (b y i nt ro du cin g di re ct -d em oc ra tic el em en ts or in cr ea sin g po lit ica l p ar tic ip at io n) . T he sp ea ke r a rg ue s i n fa vo r o f g ra nt in g m or e p ow er to th e p eo pl e w ith in th e c on te xt o f a sp ec ifi c i ssu e ( e.g ., el ec tio ns , im m ig ra tio n, se cu rit y) . D en yi ng el ite so ve re ig nt y Th e e lit e d ep riv e t he p eo pl e o f its so ve re ig nt y. Th e s pe ak er ar gu es in fa vo r o f g ra nt in g les s p ow er to th e e lit e w ith in th e c on te xt o f a sp ec ifi c iss ue (e .g ., ele ct io ns , i m m ig ra tio n, se cu rit y) Ta bl e 1 : Populist Communication in the News Media 59 Even though populism hardly occurs in its pure form and is often enriched with additional ideological elements (such as nationalism, liberalism, or socialism), all populist actors share this Manichean notion of a fight of the virtuous people against the evil elite (van Kessel, 2015). Therefore, following the rationale of Wirth and colleagues (2016), we focus on this common core of populist ideology when investigating populist communication in the news across different national contexts. Specifically, we argue that populist actors, in their effort to publicly voice their ideology, rely on a set of populist key messages that stem from their worldview. These messages convey the three core concepts of populist ideology: antielitism, people-centrism, and the desire to restore public sovereignty (Table 1). Within this framework, populism can be expressed through three different key messages that attack the elites: Populist actors may discredit the elite, blame the elite, or accuse it of being detached from the people. People-centrism can be expressed through four messages: the populist actor may demonstrate their own closeness to the people, stress the people’s virtues, praise the people’s achievements, or affirm a monolithic people. Finally, restoring sovereignty is comprised of two messages: demanding sovereignty for the people, or denying the elite’s sovereignty (see Table 1). Discursive Opportunities as Analytical Framework Following the framework of discursive opportunities (Gamson, 2004; Koopmans & Olzak, 2004), we argue that cultural, political, and systemic structures may favor specific discursive messages. Previous research on populist communication has mainly focused on its association with political factors and has found that political actors (Blassnig et al., 2018, Wettstein et al., 2018a), the occurrence of issues taken on by populist actors (Ernst et al., 2019), and a country’s acceptance of populist parties (Wettstein et al., 2018b) affect the prevalence of populist communication. In this chapter, we take a different approach by investigating cultural and journalistic opportunity structures at different levels. We argue that a news story is created in the cultural context of a given society, the organizational context of the news outlet, and the functional context of the story genre; consequently, we investigate the role of conditional factors on all three levels. Namely, we explore the prevalence of authoritarian attitudes, the market and opinion orientations of media organizations, and the news story genre as possible opportunity structures for populist communication. While all three factors are not directly associated with populism or the po- 1.1 Sven Engesser et al. 60 litical system, they have previously been identified or suspected as being potential driving forces of populist ideology or communication (Esser et al., 2017; Mazzoleni, 2008; Norris & Inglehart, 2019; Wettstein et al., 2018a). Populism and the Prevalence of Authoritarian Attitudes In cross-cultural research, a variety of cultural values have been found to shape the way members of a culture think and work, at least to a certain degree (Hofstede, 2001; Inglehart & Appel, 1989; Schwartz, 2006). Most of these cultural values are closely associated with specific social values and political orientations, which makes them unlikely opportunity structures for populism in general. However, authoritarian attitudes, the primary exception, have not only been found to be connected to both right- and leftwing ideology but have also been explicitly linked to populism in the past (Dix, 1985; Mudde, 2007; Norris & Inglehart, 2019; Pettigrew, 2017; Rensmann, 2017; Vasilopoulos & Lachat, 2018). Scholarship on authoritarianism began in the aftermath of the Nazi regime in Germany (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950; Arendt, 1951; Fromm, 1941), and it experienced a recent revival when the third wave of democratization gave way to a period of (re-)authoritarianization (Brownlee, 2007; Hetherington & Weiler, 2009; Stenner, 2005). Over time, the research perspective has shifted from psychoanalytical (Adorno et al., 1950) to behavioral (Altemeyer, 1981, 1996) to socialpsychological (Duckitt, 1989; Feldman, 2003; Feldman & Stenner, 1997; Stenner, 2005, 2009). Authoritarian attitudes consist of three core dimensions: conformity, obedience to authority, and outgroup aggression (Altemeyer, 1981; Duckitt, Bizumic, Krauss, & Heled, 2010; Funke, 2005; Hetherington & Suhay, 2011). They become more salient in situations where individuals with a respective predisposition perceive a threat or crisis and look for a strong leader (Doty, Peterson, & Winter, 1991; Hetherington & Weiler, 2009). Both populism and authoritarianism involve homogeneous ingroups, conformity among the people, and united resistance against threats. While authoritarian’s obedience dimension seems at first glance to be incompatible with populism’s anti-elitism, this contradiction dissolves when we consider that populists are not generally opposed to obedience but demand that the rightful sovereign takes control. They advocate obedience to the rule of the people and to strong, charismatic leaders that are 1.2 Populist Communication in the News Media 61 frequently encountered in populist movements (Mudde, 2004). Moreover, authoritarians are not automatically blindly obedient but “can and will rebel under certain circumstances” (Mudde, 2007, p. 23), in particular when facing “questionable authorities” and “leaders unworthy of respect” (Stenner, 2009, p. 143). We argue that the prevalence of authoritarian attitudes presents an opportunity for populist communication in the news, especially when the population is disappointed by the authorities or sees traditional norms as being threatened by the rise of progressive values. Journalists are regularly confronted with the attitudes of the populace: reporters interact with their sources, and journalistic stories are produced with regard to anticipated audience interest, which can vary across countries (Obijiofor & Hanusch, 2011; Shoemaker & Reese, 2014). For journalists, the prevalence of authoritarian attitudes is a component of the external framing conditions that influence how they perceive and make sense of the world; it influences their interpretation of news situations and consequently their decisions on news selection and reporting (Esser & Strömbäck, 2012). Journalists may respond differently to higher levels of authoritarian attitudes in a country. The literature on role orientation suggests that some journalists are more focused on audience desires, while others see themselves more as pedagogues and guardians of democracy (Hanitzsch, 2011). In the context of this paper, some journalists may promote populist messages to cater to authoritarian attitudes, while others may feel a strong need to criticize and deconstruct these messages in order to counter a narrative that is potentially harmful to liberal democracy. However, it is likely that both groups of journalists will engage more with populism in their coverage when authoritarian attitudes are more widespread in their country. Hypothesis 1: The higher the prevalence of authoritarian attitudes among the population of a country, the higher the prevalence of populism in the press. Populism and Market Orientation On an organizational level, journalists work for media companies that pursue certain editorial and business strategies. Based on the theory of mediatization, Mazzoleni (2003, 2008, 2014) argued that market-oriented newspapers are more likely to report populist claims, either because they are deliberately complicit with populist actors or because they seek to draw the 1.3 Sven Engesser et al. 62 attention of their readers by engaging in strong and simplified language. In contrast, upmarket newspapers may be expected to reflect the values and views of the elite; thus, they may take an elitist attitude towards the government and engage in active resistance against populist actors – either by covering them critically or ignoring them. However, empirical evidence for this line of thinking is rare, as multiple studies have failed to show that mass-market newspapers provide more favorable discursive opportunity structures for populist actors (Akkerman, 2011; Bos et al., 2011; Herkman, 2017; Rooduijn, 2014; Wettstein et al., 2018a). Partially supporting Mazzoleni’s assumptions, other studies have established that evaluations and presentations of populist actors are slightly more favorable in the popular press (Herkman, 2017; Wettstein et al., 2018b) and that mass-market newspapers feature more blame of elites in interpretative stories (Hameleers, Bos, & de Vreese, 2019). Stronger evidence for organizational context factors was found for opinionated weekly magazines, which are susceptible to blending political information with popularization elements (Umbricht & Esser, 2016; Wettstein et al., 2018a, b). Their tendency to feature populist content is primarily explained by their publication schedule and opinion orientation, which support a more forceful, more colorful, more interpretative, impactoriented style. Following these arguments, despite the absence of strong empirical support, we assume that both the market orientation and the opinion orientation of newspapers offer opportunities for populist communication. Specifically, we expect mass-market newspapers and weekly magazines to feature more populist content than upmarket newspapers. Hypothesis 2a: The extent of populism in the mass-market press is higher than in the upmarket press. Hypothesis 2b: The extent of populism in the weekly press is higher than in the daily press. Populism and Opinion Orientation Newspaper stories can be categorized into straight news items, opinionbased items, and illustrative news items, an intermediary category that blends news with analysis and dynamic reporting features. News items are characterized by “inverted pyramid writing, balanced reporting, emphasis on verifiable facts and attributed sources, a detached point of view, and the separation of the news and editorial functions of the news organization” 1.4 Populist Communication in the News Media 63 (Esser & Umbricht, 2014, p. 230). Opinion-based items consist of editorials, op-eds, and commentaries, which give the authors more freedom and allow for greater levels of advocacy, criticism, partisanship, subjectivity, and interpretation (Salgado, Strömbäck, Aalberg, & Esser, 2017). Illustrative news items, such as interviews and investigative reporting, take an intermediate position between straight news and opinion-based news in terms of journalistic freedom (see also Lehman-Wilzig & Seletzky, 2010). Since populist key messages are strongly evaluation-focused and are based on blaming the elite and giving the people a voice, they require an editorial choice to include opinionated claims in a story. These requirements are most likely met in opinion pieces, where readers, editors, or guest authors are allowed to voice their opinions on politics. In addition, stories that offer additional context and interpretation are more likely to contain populist key messages (Blassnig, 2018; Hameleers et al., 2019). Finally, we assume that the as-yet unsupported suggestion that populist content differs between mass-market and upmarket is partially owed to opportunity structures on the level of the individual story. Upmarket newspapers may also engage in populist communication in commentaries and editorials, even if they refrain from doing so in straight news reporting. However, in mass-market newspapers, commentaries are rare (Wahl-Jorgensen, 2008) and populist content may be included in general coverage, as massmarket newspapers “defy an easy distinction between opinion- and information-oriented journalism” (p. 70). We therefore expect an interaction between the opportunity structures on the organizational and story levels. Hypothesis 3: The extent of populism in straight news stories is lower than in opinion-based and illustrative news items. Hypothesis 4: The effect of the story type is stronger in upmarket newspapers than in mass-market newspapers. Method We conducted a semi-automated content analysis of news coverage on the issues of labor market and immigration by the leading press outlets in ten Western democracies (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States) in periods outside of general elections. 2. Sven Engesser et al. 64 Sample On the country level, our selection of the democracies was guided by three theoretically important contrasts. In terms of political systems, we included majoritarian (FR, UK) and consensus (AT, CH, DE, NL) democracies (Lijphart, 2012). In terms of media systems, we considered liberal (UK, US), polarized-pluralist (IT, FR) and democratic-corporatist (AT, CH, DE, NL, SE) countries (Hallin & Mancini, 2004). In terms of party landscape, we analyzed countries in which populist parties received relatively little electoral support (below 5 %) in the last national election prior to our analysis (UK, US, DE) as well as countries in which populist parties had achieved 10 – 30 % of the vote shares (SE, AT, CH, PL) (Wettstein et al., 2019). Within each country, we selected two leading upmarket daily newspapers and two dominant mass-market daily newspapers. In countries where paid-for and free mass-market newspapers are equally important, we included one representative of each type. We chose two free papers in France and Italy, while we chose two paid-for papers in Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US. Finally, we also considered the two most important opinionated weekly news magazines in each country except for Italy and Sweden, where we had to restrict ourselves to one opinionated weekly news magazine for technical reasons (see Table 2). We focused on the press coverage of two policy issues that were likely to trigger nationwide political debates and attract statements from both leftwing and right-wing populists: the labor market and immigration. For each issue, we constructed a search string that we validated in a series of pretests before applying it to the Lexis/Nexis and Factiva databases. To minimize the influence of special events on the press coverage, our investigation lasted for a period of fifteen months, from March 2014 through May 2015. As this procedure provided us with a vast quantity of news stories (N > 150,000), we drew a randomized sample of roughly 14 % of stories from all press outlets (N = 20,278). Within this initial sample, we processed only those news items that contained one or more statements on domestic labor market or immigration policies (N = 9,326). 2.1 Populist Communication in the News Media 65 Sa m pl e o f P res s O ut let s Co un try M ar ke t s ec to r U pm ar ke t d ail y n ew sp ap er M as s-m ar ke t d ail y n ew sp ap er W ee kl y m ag az in e Le ftlea ni ng Ri gh t-l ea ni ng Pa id -fo r Fr ee Au str ia Pr es se St an da rd Kr on en Z ei tu ng Pr of il H eu te N ew s G er m an y Sü dd eu tsc he Z eit un g Fr an kf ur te r A llg em ein e Ze itu ng Bi ld Sp ieg el B. Z. a Fo cu s Fr an ce Le M on de Le F ig ar o a 20 M in ut es Ex pr es s M et ro Po in t Ita ly Re pu bb lic a Co rr ier e d ell a S er a a M et ro Es pr es so Le gg o b N et he rla nd s Vo lk sk ra nt N RC H an de lsb lad Te leg ra af El se vi er M et ro Vr ij N ed er la nd Po lan d G az et a W yb or cz a Rz ec ze po sp ol ita Su pe r E xp re ss Po lit yk a Fa kt a U w az am R ze U K G ua rd ian Ti m es Su n Ec on om ist D ai ly M irr or a Sp ec ta to r U S N ew Y or k Ti m es W all S tre et Jo ur na l U SA T od ay Ti m e N ew Y or k D ail y N ew s a N at io na l R ev iew Sw ed en D ag en s N yh et er Sv en sk a D ag bl ad et Af to nb lad et Af fä rsv är ld en M et ro b Sw itz er lan d Ta ge s-A nz eig er N eu e Z ür ch er Z eit un g Bl ick 20 M in ut en W el tw oc he W O Z N ot e: a M ar ke t s ec to r p lay s a m ar gi na l r ol e i n th e c ou nt ry ’s m ed ia lan ds ca pe . b N ot av ai la bl e d ue to te ch ni ca l r ea so ns . Ta bl e 2 : Sven Engesser et al. 66 Units of Analysis The unit of analysis was the statement made by a speaker in a news item concerning one or more target actors or issues. The speaker could be any named source that was quoted directly or indirectly in the text; the author of the text was also treated as a speaker when they made statements concerning target actors or issues. Target actors were individual or collective actors about which a speaker may make a remark, evaluation, or descriptive statement. Important target actors for this analysis were ‘the elite’ and ‘the people’ as abstract collectives. Statements concerning these actors were used to identify anti-elitism and people-centrism key messages. Statements concerning target issues could either be solely focused on the issue or could be linked to target actors. The latter was used in the coding of messages about restoring popular sovereignty when they were linked to the elite or the people, stating that the target actor should/should not have the power to act or decide on the issue. Reliability Scores Dimension Key Message Percent agreement Brennan and Prediger’s κ Discrediting the elite .88 .75 Anti-Elitism Blaming the elite .82 .65 Detaching the elite .95 .89 Total .80 .60 Stressing virtues .99 .98 People-Centrism Praising achievements .97 .99 Stating a monolithic people .83 .65 Demonstrating closeness .98 .96 Total .81 .63 Restoring Demanding popular sovereignty 1.00 .99 Sovereignty Denying elite sovereignty .97 .93 Total .96 .93 Story Type .81 .77 Note: Test among 76 coders on news item level (N = 32) 2.2 Table 3: Populist Communication in the News Media 67 A team of 76 skilled and intensively trained coders attained acceptable levels of reliability on all coded categories. The average Brennan-Prediger kappa (Brennan & Prediger, 1981) across all key messages was .83 (see Table 3). All coders were required to pass an initial reliability test (five news items and 137 statements) before being admitted to the coder pool. In addition, a concealed reliability test (32 news items and 382 statements) was conducted during regular coding sessions. Measures Media and story characteristics. Media outlets were characterized prior to sampling as upmarket, mass-market, or weekly newspaper (see Table 2). The type of story was coded manually during the content analysis. Coders decided whether a story is straight news, a report/analysis, an interview, or a commentary or letter to the editor. Populist key messages. We operationalized each of the nine populist key messages with a broad set of categories, which are detailed in Table 1. These variables can be regarded as formative measures, meaning that a message is not required to be internally consistent in order to be reliable or valid (Diamantopoulos, Riefler, & Roth, 2008). The presence of a message was coded for the statements of each speaker. Authoritarian attitudes. We build upon Feldman and Stenner’s (1997) well-established approach by operationalizing authoritarianism as an individual attitude towards child-rearing styles, which is independent of political orientation and related concepts like nationalism, xenophobia, populism, and intolerance (Hetherington & Weiler, 2009; Stenner, 2005). For this data, we relied on the fifth wave of the World Values Survey (2005-2009), which included all countries in our sample except for Austria and which asked the question: “Here is a list of qualities that children can be encouraged to learn at home. Which, if any, do you consider to be especially important? Please choose up to five.” We recorded the percentages of individuals who selected obedience and disregarded independence, using this number as an authoritarian attitude index (M = 17.0 %; SD = 37.6 %). 2.3 Sven Engesser et al. 68 Findings A first glance at the frequencies of populist key message occurrence reveals that one in five stories (21.7 %) contains at least one populist key message (see Figure 1). Messages attacking the elite are approximately twice as frequent (15.1 %) as messages in favor of the people (7.9 %). Messages aimed at restoring public sovereignty are very uncommon (1.1 %). Only a small proportion of stories feature both people-centrism and anti-elitism (1.8 %), and messages from all three dimensions only appear in 12 coded stories (0.1 %). A comparison among countries shows that French and Italian newspapers feature high levels of people-centrism, while Polish, Dutch, and British newspapers display a higher degree of anti-elitism. The newspapers of other countries, particularly Germany, contain relatively low levels of populism (see Figure 3). Strategies Type Strat Mittelwert Standardfehler des Mittelwerts POP_Blame AE Blaming the Elite 10,9% 0,0013 POP_Denouncing AE Denouncing Elite 9,1% 0,0012 POP_Exclusion_EliAE Exclusion of Elite 1,3% 0,0005 POPULIST_AntiElitAE Any Anti‐Elitism 15,1% 0,0016 POP_Achiev PC Achievements of People 0,9% 0,0004 POP_Virtues PC Virtues of People 1,3% 0,0005 POP_Closeness_SePC Closeness to People 1,2% 0,0005 POP_Monolith PC Monolithic People 5,8% 0,001 POPULIST_People PC Any People‐Centrism 7,9% 0,0012 POP_Sovereign_adRS Demanding Sovereignty for People 0,1% 0,0001 POP_Sovereign_coRS Denying Sovereignty to Elite 1,0% 0,0004 POPULIST_Sovere RS Any Restoring Sovereignty 1,1% 0,0005 POPULIST1 Z Any Populist Key Message 21,7% 0,0018 @2Populism Z Two Dimensions 2,3% 0,0006 @3Populism Z Three Dimensions 0,1% 0,0001 10,9% 9,1% 1,3% 15,1% 0,9% 1,3% 1,2% 5,8% 7,9% 0,1% 1,0% 1,1% 21,7% 2,3% 0,1% Blaming the Elite Denouncing Elite Exclusion of Elite Any Anti‐Elitism Achievements of People Virtues of People Closeness to People Monolithic People Any People‐Centrism Demanding Sovereignty for People Denying Sovereignty to Elite Any Restoring Sovereignty Any Populist Key Message Two Dimensions Three Dimensions Prevalence of populist key messages. Bold frames indicate aggregation of all individual messages belonging to this dimension. Due to overlap of individual messages, aggregated scores are not equal to the sums within the dimension. 3. Figure 1: Populist Communication in the News Media 69 Country Authoritarian Any PopulisPeople CenAnti‐ElitismRestoring Sovereignty Austria au 15% 4% 12% 0,013 Switzerland cd 9% 17% 5% 13% 0,0144 Germany de 5% 11% 5% 7% 0,0074 France fr 31% 30% 19% 14% 0,0436 Italy it 15% 25% 13% 14% 0,0248 Netherlands nl 19% 24% 5% 19% 0,0122 Poland pl 36% 31% 9% 23% 0,029 Sweden se 7% 17% 5% 15% 0,0236 United Kingdom uk 27% 19% 6% 14% 0,0174 USA us 17% 13% 5% 8% 0,01 0 0,00094 0,00053 0,00312 0,00147 0,00189 0,00362 0,00074 0,00265 0,00172 Austria Switzerland Germany FranceItaly Netherlands Poland Sweden United Kingdom USA 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% An ti‐ El iti st  K ey  M es sa ge s People Centrist Key Messages Switzerland Germany France Italy Netherlands Poland Sweden United Kingdom USA 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% 26% 28% 30% 32% 34% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Pr ev al en ce  o f P op ul ist  K ey  M es sa ge s Authoritarianism Prevalence by country of people-centrist and anti-elitist key messages. Our hypotheses seem to be confirmed in a preliminary one-way ANOVA testing the effects of independent context factors. At the national level, the occurrence of any populist key message in the news is higher in countries with a high prevalence of authoritarian attitudes (r =.784; p <.05; Figure 2). However, the correlation of authoritarian attitudes with individual key messages was not significant. On an organizational level, we find that upmarket, mass-market, and weekly newspapers only marginally differ in their affinity for any populist style (F (2, 55) = 2.504; p <.1). However, they do differ in the extent of anti-elitism (F (2, 55) = 4.482; p <.05), with weekly magazines being the most anti-elitist, followed by quality newspapers (Figures 4 and 5). On the story level, owing to the large number of articles, we find that the influence of story type on populist content is significant but weak (F (3, 59928) = 355.1; p <.001; η2 = 0.17 %). Figure 2: Sven Engesser et al. 70 Country Authoritarian Any PopulisPeople CenAnti‐ElitismRestoring Sovereignty Austria au 15% 4% 12% 0,013 Switzerland cd 9% 17% 5% 13% 0,0144 Germany de 5% 11% 5% 7% 0,0074 France fr 31% 30% 19% 14% 0,0436 Italy it 15% 25% 13% 14% 0,0248 Netherlands nl 19% 24% 5% 19% 0,0122 Poland pl 36% 31% 9% 23% 0,029 Sweden se 7% 17% 5% 15% 0,0236 United Kingdom uk 27% 19% 6% 14% 0,0174 USA us 17% 13% 5% 8% 0,01 0 0,00094 0,00053 0,00312 0,00147 0,00189 0,00362 0,00074 0,00265 0,00172 Austria Switzerland Germany FranceItaly Netherlands Poland Sweden United Kingdom USA 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% An ti‐ El iti st  K ey  M es sa ge s People Centrist Key Messages Switzerland Germany France Italy Netherlands Poland Sweden United Kingdom USA 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 22% 24% 26% 28% 30% 32% 34% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Pr ev al en ce  o f P op ul ist  K ey  M es sa ge s Authoritarianism Relation between the percentage of people indicating preference for authoritarianism and the prevalence of populist key messages in each country (r =.78). Medium Number_of_CWNumber_of_POPULIST POPULIST_PeoPOPULIST_AntPOPULIST_SovMed_Type Med_Type1 Kraemer_KapiKraemer_TypeCountry MName Name People CentrisAnti‐Elitism 1101 190 832,951921 0,06676812 0,00973477 0,05703335 0 1 1 1 1 AT Der Standard (AT) Der Standard 1,0% 5,7% 1102 241 1655,50989 0,08556743 0,03492025 0,06121507 0,01187952 1 1 1 1 AT Die Presse (AT) Die Presse 3,5% 6,1% 1103 191 1804,91042 0,25428413 0,06083624 0,20970402 0,01404929 2 2 1 2 AT Kronenzeitung (AT) Kronenzeitung 6,1% 21,0% 1104 122 524,125218 0,10278755 0,00378113 0,0916374 0,03755611 2 2 1 2 AT Heute (AT) Heute 0,4% 9,2% 1105 45 137,692766 0,16758125 0,0319552 0,13562605 0 5 5 1 5 AT Profil (AT) Profil 3,2% 13,6% 1106 41 90,8928571 0,04254093 0 0,04254093 0 5 5 1 5 AT News (AT) News 0,0% 4,3% 1301 658 2580,70658 0,11763505 0,02750554 0,0863195 0,01168719 1 1 1 1 CH NZZ (CH) NZZ 2,8% 8,6% 1302 544 1990,60702 0,2076585 0,04937824 0,15757347 0,014343 3 3 1 1 CH Tages‐Anzeiger (CH) Tages‐Anzeiger 4,9% 15,8% 1303 160 310,977117 0,04017228 0,02592349 0,02169052 0 2 2 1 2 CH 20Minuten (CH) 20Minuten 2,6% 2,2% 1304 380 781,02217 0,16478812 0,07693526 0,12425755 0,01205849 2 2 1 2 CH Blick (CH) Blick 7,7% 12,4% 1305 266 389,888108 0,35899033 0,10987222 0,30867891 0,03139143 5 5 1 5 CH Weltwoche (CH) Weltwoche 11,0% 30,9% 1306 74 122,298377 0,23265492 0,01271935 0,20358212 0,02978664 5 5 1 5 CH WOZ (CH) WOZ 1,3% 20,4% 1501 379 2402,66383 0,11047775 0,04445646 0,06675114 0,0191576 1 1 1 1 DE FAZ (DE) FAZ 4,4% 6,7% 1502 632 6478,37626 0,10087892 0,03584945 0,06986743 0,00286788 1 1 1 1 DE SZ (DE) SZ 3,6% 7,0% 1503 215 443,235837 0,05295054 0,01314444 0,0398061 0 2 2 1 2 DE Bild (DE) Bild 1,3% 4,0% 1504 328 1005,09828 0,09592885 0,04415529 0,04989425 0,00483645 2 2 1 2 DE B.Z. (DE) B.Z. 4,4% 5,0% 1505 112 458,765721 0,11024538 0,06105094 0,07009381 0 5 5 1 5 DE Spiegel (DE) Spiegel 6,1% 7,0% 1506 72 246,784229 0,13261613 0,03233512 0,11685788 0 5 5 1 5 DE Focus (DE) Focus 3,2% 11,7% 1701 178 1653,88849 0,32247896 0,19027224 0,14890844 0,02871592 1 1 1 1 FR Le Monde (FR) Le Monde 19,0% 14,9% 1702 219 2168,84138 0,28885987 0,16615732 0,16553378 0,01582556 1 1 1 1 FR Figaro (FR) Figaro 16,6% 16,6% 1703 32 135 0,19802469 0,17135802 0,02962963 0,02666667 2 2 1 2 FR Metro (FR) Metro 17,1% 3,0% 1704 29 118,25 0,16490486 0,08245243 0,08245243 0 2 2 1 2 FR 20Minutes (FR) 20Minutes 8,2% 8,2% 1705 45 156,803794 0,55042715 0,36236865 0,32472804 0,0209543 5 5 1 5 FR L'Express (FR) L'Express 36,2% 32,5% 1706 43 92,7844124 0,4532461 0,30359879 0,20027067 0,05279835 5 5 1 5 FR Le Point (FR) Le Point 30,4% 20,0% 1801 280 3727,15775 0,26493787 0,1486907 0,13990893 0 1 1 1 1 IT Corriere della Sera (IT Corriere della Sera 14,9% 14,0% 1802 205 2359,10878 0,21369605 0,0936795 0,14646069 0 1 1 1 1 IT La Repubblica (IT) La Repubblica 9,4% 14,6% 1803 93 108,833333 0,17075038 0,05666156 0,10336907 0,01071975 2 2 1 2 IT Leggo (IT) Leggo 5,7% 10,3% 1804 114 261,428571 0,24235276 0,19285974 0,07180631 0,00765027 2 2 1 2 IT Metro (IT) Metro 19,3% 7,2% 1806 32 149,469305 0,34196251 0,19990176 0,1998245 0 5 5 1 5 IT L'Espresso (IT) L'Espresso 20,0% 20,0% 1901 113 1911,74943 0,22809357 0,08445085 0,16095041 0,009677 1 1 1 1 NL De Volkskrant (NL) De Volkskrant 8,4% 16,1% 1902 116 2098,54427 0,22557574 0,03362669 0,165491 0,03873206 1 1 1 1 NL NRC Handelsblad (NL)NRC Handelsblad 3,4% 16,5% 1903 128 2372,78756 0,26571188 0,04480017 0,2295092 0 2 2 1 2 NL De Telegraaf (NL) De Telegraaf 4,5% 23,0% 1904 71 423,225384 0,17466577 0,05237556 0,12229021 0 2 2 1 2 NL Metro (NL) Metro 5,2% 12,2% 1905 59 356,19715 0,32691011 0,06753297 0,26053131 0,01038751 5 5 1 5 NL Elsevier (NL) Elsevier 6,8% 26,1% 1906 23 99,7675325 0,32065451 0,08966298 0,23500085 0,0501165 5 5 1 5 NL Vrij Nederland (NL) Vrij Nederland 9,0% 23,5% 2001 99 785,339493 0,38221557 0,07435591 0,32644071 0,02316078 1 1 1 1 PL Gazeta Wyborcza (PL)Gazeta Wyborcza 7,4% 32,6% 2002 153 2836,60004 0,30834779 0,08721456 0,23261633 0,02900184 1 1 1 1 PL Rzeczpospolita (PL) Rzeczpospolita 8,7% 23,3% 2003 75 591,744394 0,27512381 0,11174356 0,1893465 0 2 2 1 2 PL Super Express (PL) Super Express 11,2% 18,9% 2004 49 331,31936 0,18986336 0,10021359 0,1289956 0 2 2 1 2 PL Fakt (PL) Fakt 10,0% 12,9% 2005 25 62,6761905 0,15901839 0,03191004 0,15901839 0,03191004 5 5 1 5 PL Uwazam Rze (PL) Uwazam Rze 3,2% 15,9% 2006 39 239,153205 0,34942465 0,10583281 0,24359184 0 5 5 1 5 PL Polityka (PL) Polityka 10,6% 24,4% 2101 64 769,096835 0,18687491 0,02971097 0,1753354 0 1 1 1 1 SE Dagens Nyheter (SE) Dagens Nyheter 3,0% 17,5% 2102 71 539,73142 0,12936326 0,01096842 0,11839484 0 1 1 1 1 SE Svenska Dagbladet (SESvenska Dagbladet 1,1% 11,8% 2103 70 463,191737 0,23529872 0,12491893 0,1646818 0 2 2 1 2 SE Aftonbladet (SE) Aftonbladet 12,5% 16,5% 2104 75 256,666892 0,1293064 0,07128233 0,09809824 0 2 2 1 2 SE Metro (SE) Metro 7,1% 9,8% 2105 32 67,2425991 0,08836164 0 0,08836164 0 5 5 1 5 SE AffärsVärlden (SE) AffärsVärlden 0,0% 8,8% 2201 280 1840,35542 0,16550884 0,05108374 0,11434937 0,01118855 1 1 1 1 UK The Times (UK) The Times 5,1% 11,4% 2202 282 2270,67619 0,20586692 0,05105726 0,16550852 0 1 1 1 1 UK The Guardian (UK) The Guardian 5,1% 16,6% 2203 282 1822,15842 0,17100584 0,05537209 0,13259096 0,01586985 2 2 1 2 UK The Sun (UK) The Sun 5,5% 13,3% 2204 244 1266,39057 0,21130569 0,08191448 0,1457765 0 2 2 1 2 UK The Daily Mirror (UK) The Daily Mirror 8,2% 14,6% 2205 40 43,0428571 0,27613674 0,0813143 0,1939927 0,02987056 5 5 1 5 UK The Spectator (UK) The Spectator 8,1% 19,4% 2206 25 49,7255882 0,1422513 0 0,1422513 0 5 5 1 5 UK The Economist (UK) The Economist 0,0% 14,2% 2301 345 2814,28913 0,14418227 0,05607335 0,08883483 0,00858317 1 1 1 1 US New York Times (US) New York Times 5,6% 8,9% 2303 204 810,259178 0,14022929 0,04832363 0,10114386 0 2 2 1 2 US USA Today (US) USA Today 4,8% 10,1% 2306 20 9 0,11111111 0 0,11111111 0 5 5 1 5 US Time (US) Time 0,0% 11,1% 2307 166 625,407748 0,09213309 0,03226607 0,07455218 0 2 2 1 2 US NY Daily News (US) NY Daily News 3,2% 7,5% 2308 191 1462,90337 0,11811161 0,05427141 0,06311542 0,00863469 1 1 1 1 US Wall Street Journal (UWall Street Journal 5,4% 6,3% 2309 65 128,044372 0,17582345 0,05856161 0,13294059 0,01561959 5 5 1 5 US National Review (US) National Review 5,9% 13,3% Der Standard (AT) Die Presse (AT) Kronenzeitung (AT) Heute (AT) Profil (AT) News (AT) NZZ (CH) Tages‐Anzeiger (CH) 20Minuten (CH) Blick (CH) Weltwoche (CH) WOZ (CH) FAZ (DE)SZ (DE) Bild (DE) B.Z. (DE) Spiegel (DE) Focus (DE) Le Monde (FR) Figaro (FR) Metro (FR) 20Minutes (FR) L'Express (FR) Le Point (FR) Corriere della Sera (IT) La Repubblica (IT) Leggo (IT) Metro (IT) L'Espresso (IT) De Volkskrant (NL) NRC Handelsblad (NL) De Telegraaf (NL) Metro (NL) Elsevier (NL) Vrij Nederland (NL) Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) Rzeczpospolita (PL) Super Express (PL) Fakt (PL) Uwazam Rze (PL) Polityka (PL) Dagens Nyheter (SE) Svenska Dagbladet (SE) Aftonbladet (SE) Metro (SE) AffärsVärlden (SE) The Times (UK) The Guardian (UK) The Sun (UK) The Daily Mirror (UK) The Spectator (UK) The Economist (UK) New York Times (US) USA Today (US) Time (US) NY Daily News (US) Wall Street Journal (US) National Review (US) 0,0% 5,0% 10,0% 1 ,0% 20,0% 25,0% 30,0% 35,0% 40,0% 0,0% 5,0% 10,0% 15,0% 20,0% 25,0% 30,0% 35,0% 40,0% An ti  El isi ts  K ey  M es sa ge s People Centrist Key Messages Prevalence of people-centrist and anti-elitist key messages in individual news outlets. Figure 3: Figure 4: Populist Communication in the News Media 71 POPULIST The speaker makePOPULIST_PeopleCent The sPOPULIST_AntiElite The speaPOPULIST_Sovereign The speaker makes at least one Restoring Sovereignty statement Any Populism StandardfehlePeople CentrisStandardfehleAnti Elitism StandardfehleRestoring SoveStandardfehler des Mittelwerts Kraemer_TypeUpmarket 18,8% 0,00188 7,0% 0,00123 12,7% 0,0016 1,1% 0,00051 Mass Market 18,9% 0,00325 6,1% 0,002 14,2% 0,0029 0,7% 0,00067 Weekly 25,7% 0,0081 9,3% 0,00539 19,0% 0,00727 1,3% 0,00211 Gesamt 0,1917 0,0016 0,06932 0,00103 0,13329 0,00138 0,01016 0,00041 POPULIST The speaker makePOPULIST_PeopleCent The sPOPULIST_AntiElite The speaPOPULIST_Sovereign The speaker makes at least one Restoring Sovereignty statement Sort Genre Any Populism StandardfehlePeople CentrisStandardfehleAnti Elitism StandardfehleRestoring SoveStandardfehler des Mittelwerts 4 Editorial/Com 27,9% 0,00406 7,2% 0,00234 22,2% 0,00377 1,8% 0,00119 3 Interview 28,5% 0,00886 15,8% 0,00716 15,5% 0,0071 2,3% 0,00291 2 Reportage 20,5% 0,00593 7,6% 0,0039 13,8% 0,00507 1,3% 0,00166 1 Straight News 15,8% 0,00181 6,2% 0,0012 10,4% 0,00152 0,7% 0,00041 7 Social Media. . . . . . . . 18,8% 7,0% 12,7% 1,1% 18,9% 6,1% 14,2% 0,7% 25,7% 9,3% 19,0% 1,3% Any Populism People Centrism Anti Elitism Restoring Sovereignty Weekly Mass Market Upmarket 27,9% 7,2% 22,2% 1,8% 28,5% 15,8% 15,5% 2,3% 20,5% 7,6% 13,8% 1,3% 15,8% 6,2% 10,4% 0,7% Any Populism People Centrism Anti Elitism Restoring Sovereignty Straight News Reportage Interview Editorial/Comment Raw comparison of the occurrence of populist key messages across different media genres and story types. The percentages indicate the proportion of stories featuring messages belonging to each dimension of populism. 4. Dummy_MassMarket * Dummy_Genre Abhängige Variable:   POPULIST The speaker makes at least one populist statement  Dummy_MassDummy_Genre Mittelwert Standardfehle95%‐Konfidenzintervall Untergrenze Obergrenze 0 0 .201a 0,007 0,189 0,214 1 .267a 0,005 0,257 0,276 1 0 .129a,b 0,004 0,121 0,137 1 .285a,b 0,007 0,272 0,298 a Die Kovariaten im Modell werden anhand der folgenden Werte berechnet: Authorit2 Authoritarianism, alternative calculation (Obedience AND NOT Independ b Basiert auf Randmittel der geänderten Grundgesamtheit. Mass Market Upmarket and Weekly Straight News 0,129 0,201 Interpretive 0,285 0,267 Standard Errors Mass Market Other Straight News 0,004 0,007 Interpretive 0,007 0,005 0 0,05 0,1 0,15 0,2 0,25 0,3 0,35 Straight News Interpretive Mass Market Upmarket and Weekly Interaction of organizational and story-level context factors. Note: Estimated means and standard errors for the prevalence of populist communication, controlling for authoritarianism, are displayed. Figure 5: Figure 6: Sven Engesser et al. 72 In order to investigate the influence of the combined opportunity structures on the populist content of a story, we included context factors from all three levels in an analysis of variance calculated at the level of individual stories. In order to test Hypothesis 2a and 2b independently and to test Hypothesis 3 as proposed, we computed three dummy variables for massmarket, weekly, and interpretive stories (as a comprehensive counter-category to straight news) and accounted for the interaction of these factors. Authoritarian attitudes are used as a covariate in the model. The results confirm Hypothesis 1, demonstrating that authoritarian attitudes have a significant effect on populism in media coverage when organizational- and story-level factors are controlled for (F (1, 55493) = 1089.8; p <. 001; η2 = 1.9 %). On the organizational level, weekly newspapers are slightly more populist (F (1, 55493) = 44.87; p <.001; η2 = 0.1 %), whereas there is no effect for mass-market newspapers (F (1, 55493) =.01; n. s.), confirming Hypothesis 2b but not 2a. Hypothesis 3 is confirmed, as straight news items feature fewer populist key messages than interpretive stories (F (1, 55493) = 212.1; p <.001; η2 = 0.4 %). Although there is a significant interaction between mass-market type and story type (F (1, 55493) = 132.516; p <.001; η2 = 0.2 %), the direction is not as hypothesized, with the effect of story type being stronger for mass-market newspapers than other newspapers (Figure 6). This finding directly contradicts Hypothesis 4. Discussion The findings show that populist communication is prevalent but not dominant in political news in Western democracies. The analysis further demonstrates that populism manifests in fragmented ways. The dimension of restoring sovereignty is rare, and combinations of all three dimensions are even rarer. This is not implausible, as journalists are not likely to offer actors the space and opportunity to formulate their complete ideological standpoint in each article. Rather, it is to be expected that populist actors only manage to push one or two populist key messages past the “journalistic gatekeepers and filter mechanisms” (Engesser et al., 2017, p. 1122) in stories on current political affairs. However, this does not mean that the reporting of populist key messages is inconsequential because it is infrequent and fragmented: as field and laboratory research has shown, even small doses of fragmented populist messages may affect readers’ awareness and judgments of populist claims—mostly by reinforcing pre-existing attitudinal patterns (Müller et al., 2017; Wirz et al., 2018). 4. Populist Communication in the News Media 73 Still, it was surprising that the dimension of restoring sovereignty was extremely rare in the investigated stories, indicating that hardly any actors, not even known populists, explicitly deny the elite’s right to power or demand more power for the people. This finding seems incompatible with the notion that this dimension is as meaningful to the concept of populist attitudes, as anti-elitism and people-centrism (Schulz et al., 2017). However, since the demand to restore public sovereignty requires a discussion based on democratic theory, it can be difficult to include it in short statements on political issues. This dimension might occur more often in party manifestos or press releases that provide the necessary space; meanwhile, in daily news coverage, it might be easier to refer to the unfit elites and the virtuous people and merely imply a demand for more power to the latter. The fragmentation of populist communication aside, we find clear evidence for the influence of cultural and journalistic context factors on the frequency of populist communication. On a national level, authoritarian attitudes proved to be a strong predictor of populism in the press. Although authoritarian attitudes in a country explained only a small part of the variance of populist messages within individual news stories, we found the attitudes to be strongly linked to the aggregate frequency of populist key messages. This suggests that journalists working in countries with high levels of authoritarian attitudes assign higher newsworthiness to populist messages and find more reasons to include them in their stories (preferably those that provide an opportunity to offer interpretation and opinion). In countries with more authoritarian attitudes across the general public, the media gates are more permeable to populist statements, regardless of whether journalists or politicians are the originators of these statements, or what evaluation they give these statements. Our findings at the organization level do not support Mazzoleni’s (2003, 2008, 2014) hypothesis that mass-market media are complicit with populist actors while upmarket media act as protectors of the elites. Rather, our findings correspond to the results of a recently published study of a multicountry comparison that showed no confirmation of a greater populism affinity by mass-market newspapers (Maurer et al., 2019). We find that a press outlet’s editorial line is a better predictor of how much populism it features compared to the press outlet’s market orientation. However, it should be noted that these results neglect the ideological leanings of individual mass-market newspapers, which may provide an opportunity structure for populist parties. Some mass-market papers endorse populist parties because of ideological proximity (e.g., the right-wing tabloid Die Kronenzeitung in Austria), while other mass-market newspapers may adopt a pro-government stance for the same reasons. A good example Sven Engesser et al. 74 of the latter is the German tabloid Bild, which abandoned its anti-government stance under former chief editor Kai Diekmann and which displays extraordinarily low levels of populism in our sample. Likewise, some upmarket newspapers (such as Le Figaro) take their watchdog function very seriously, which results in relatively high levels of populism. As this study focused on non-political opportunity structures, ideological nuances in both mass-market and upmarket newspapers have been lost in the aggregation. Therefore, our conclusions only refer to the opportunity structure the market orientation of a newspaper may present, regardless of its political leaning. The current analysis further reveals that the extent of populism is higher in the weekly press than in daily papers. This may be because weekly news magazines tend to run longer formats and to package political stories in a more interpretive, impact-seeking fashion. Moreover, since opinionated weekly magazines address readers who seek original story angles and value opinionated journalism (Esser & Umbricht, 2014), these outlets might have more leeway in interpreting political issues and processes and evaluating political actors. Daily newspapers, in contrast, seek to appeal to a large, diverse audience and may therefore be more restrained in their evaluations (Esser & Umbricht, 2014). Finally, we found that the type of news story also affects its populist content: opinionated news items exhibit more populist key messages than straight news items. This is hardly surprising, as populist key messages require space and journalists’ willingness to include opinions and evaluations in a story—conditions that can hardly be met in straight news items. Contrary to expectations, however, we found that mass-market newspapers are not more prone to include populist key messages in their straight news items: rather, we found that the levels of populist communication in straight news and opinion items are higher in upmarket and weekly press. Surprisingly, it is the mass-market press that is more likely to keep populist communication out of straight news items and restrict it to opinion items. Limitations It must be noted that the country sample of this study was restricted to Western democracies; the question remains of whether the findings can be generalized to other regions of the world—such as South America, Asia, or Africa, where authoritarian attitudes are more widespread (Hadiz, 2016; Dix, 1985) and where populist movements are also gaining influence. We also focused on the coverage of press outlets, neglecting TV stations, on- 5. Populist Communication in the News Media 75 line news, and social media. Moreover, we did not consider how populist key messages are interpreted, contextualized, and evaluated by the journalists. Finally, we only analyzed explicit claims that reflect populist key messages and cannot infer about the actual motives or ideology of the speakers. Given these limitations, our results can only be applied to the populist key messages in press coverage in Western democracies. However, within this segment we were able to show that cultural and journalistic opportunity structures strongly influence the way newspapers talk about political issues and where journalists allow populist communication to occur. Conclusion The contribution of this study to the field is fourfold. First, we showed that populism is a moderately common phenomenon in the press outlets of Western democracies and that newspaper readers are exposed to it during normal times in small but nevertheless potentially effective doses (Müller et al., 2017; Wirz et al., 2018). Second, we found empirical evidence of a relationship between authoritarianism and populism on the national level, which may inform future research on both concepts. Third, we demonstrated that press outlets’ editorial lines matter more than their market sectors when it comes to predicting the frequency of populist key messages in their news coverage. 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This volume assembles a wide range of perspectives on populism and the media, bringing together various disciplinary and theoretical approaches, authors and examples from different continents and a wide range of topical issues. The chapters discuss the contexts of populist communication, communication by populist actors, different types of populist messages (populist communication in traditional and new media, populist criticism of the media, populist discourses related to different topics, etc.), the effects and consequences of populist communication, populist media policy and anti-populist discourses. The contributions synthesise existing research on this subject, propose new approaches to it or present new findings on the relationship between populism and the media. With contibutions by Caroline Avila, Eleonora Benecchi, Florin Büchel, Donatella Campus, María Esperanza Casullo, Nicoleta Corbu, Ann Crigler, Benjamin De Cleen, Sven Engesser, Nicole Ernst, Frank Esser, Nayla Fawzi, Jana Goyvaerts, André Haller, Kristoffer Holt, Christina Holtz-Bacha, Marion Just, Philip Kitzberger, Magdalena Klingler, Benjamin Krämer, Katharina Lobinger, Philipp Müller, Elena Negrea-Busuioc, Carsten Reinemann, Christian Schemer, Anne Schulz, Christian Schwarzenegger, Torgeir Uberg Nærland, Rebecca Venema, Anna Wagner, Martin Wettstein, Werner Wirth, Dominique Stefanie Wirz


Der Band vereint ein breites Spektrum von Perspektiven auf das Thema Populismus und Medien. Er bringt verschiedene fachliche und theoretische Ansätze, Beitragende und Beispiele von mehreren Kontinenten und ein breites Spektrum aktueller Themen und Herausforderungen zusammen. Die Kapitel behandeln den Kontext populistischer Kommunikation, Kommunikation durch populistische Akteure, verschiedene Typen populistischer Botschaften (populistische Kommunikation in traditionellen und neuen Medien, populistische Medienkritik, populistische Diskurse zu verschiedenen Themen), Wirkungen und Konsequenzen populistischer Kommunikation, populistische Medienpolitik, aber auch antipopulistische Diskurse. Die Beiträge systematisieren vorhandene Forschung, schlagen neue Ansätze vor oder präsentieren neue Befunde zum Verhältnis von Populismus und Medien. Mit Beiträgen von Caroline Avila, Eleonora Benecchi, Florin Büchel, Donatella Campus, María Esperanza Casullo, Nicoleta Corbu, Ann Crigler, Benjamin De Cleen, Sven Engesser, Nicole Ernst, Frank Esser, Nayla Fawzi, Jana Goyvaerts, André Haller, Kristoffer Holt, Christina Holtz-Bacha, Marion Just, Philip Kitzberger, Magdalena Klingler, Benjamin Krämer, Katharina Lobinger, Philipp Müller, Elena Negrea-Busuioc, Carsten Reinemann, Christian Schemer, Anne Schulz, Christian Schwarzenegger, Torgeir Uberg Nærland, Rebecca Venema, Anna Wagner, Martin Wettstein, Werner Wirth, Dominique Stefanie Wirz