Populists Prefer Social Media Over Talk Shows: An Analysis of Populist Messages and Stylistic Elements Across Six Countries (49/61)

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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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Written by Quinton Fife


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