The Role of Leading Media in the Growing Popularity of Right-Wing Parties (a Case Study of "Alternative for Germany") in the Elections in Germany (2016-2018)

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Oleg V. Bondarenko

Director of the Foundation for Socio-Political and Economic Studies “Integration and Geopolitics”, Moscow, Russia


Section: Foreign Journalism

This paper focuses on the role of mass media in the growing popularity of right-wing parties in the elections in Germany. The topic is covered in a case study of the party “Alternative for Germany.” The work methodology is formed by combining the monitoring of news sites with elements of content analysis and descriptive political analysis. In the course of the study, materials from 6 German national media (Deutsche Welle, Der Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau, Handelsblatt and Bild) published during the 2016—2018 election campaigns were examined. The author comes to the conclusion that during the period under review, AfG was positioned in German mass media primarily in a negative way. The audience was faced with the image of the party as a marginal structure dangerous for society. The party was credited with sympathies for Nazism, populism, xenophobia and hostility towards democracy. The effectiveness of its negative positioning in the media was low: AfG managed to improve its electoral performance. Most likely, this was due to the growing role of new media as an alternative channel for communicating information to voters. A role might have been played by the growing popularity of post-truth, along with the resolute rejection by citizens of the current government’s policies.

Keywords: mass media, media, Germany, Alternative for Germany (AfG), elections, right-wing parties
DOI: 10.30547/vestnik.journ.5.2019.163181


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