Journalistic culture, editorial mission, and news logic: Explaining the factors behind the use of populism in European media
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This chapter investigates factors contributing to the levels of populism in media output. The chapter finds that stylistic elements, such as emotionalization, negativity, polarization, and dramatization, increase the occurrence (or likelihood thereof) of populist elements in stories. In addition to the writing style, the thematic context is another influencing factor. If a story combines the themes of immigration and European integration, this makes populism more likely to occur. Contrary to the expectation of the authors, there is no evidence that mass-market newspapers are more prone to using populism than up-market newspapers. A strong influence comes, however, from characteristics of the media system. The more adversarial the journalistic culture in a given country, the more populist the content of news items and commentaries is. The chapter also finds that majoritarian democracies and weak press systems are characterized by higher levels of populism in the press.