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Far Right Political Actors in Europe (October 2019): Media and Communication

by Simeon Mitropolitski

Media and Communication

Academic research has recently begun exploring the European Far Right as emitter and transmitter of specific political messages. As part of social communication studies, this approach emphasizes exploration and quantitative and qualitative description. Special attention is given to presenting preferred types of media that help disseminate the Far Right discourses of fear and hate. Methodologically, most researchers focus on presenting and discussing cross-national findings.

Nowhere else is the critical role of media in stimulating the rise of Far Right underlined more strongly than in The Rise of Populism in Western Europe: A Media Analysis on Failed Political Messaging, by Timo Lochocki. The author explains electoral success of European Far Right parties, such as the French Front National or the Alternative for Germany, as an unintended consequence of misleading political messaging on the part of established political actors.

Populist Political Communication in Europe, edited by Toril Aalberg et al., discusses Far Right messages in the larger context of populist political communication. With chapters dedicated to this topic covering more than twenty European countries, in addition to analyzing national cases the contributors have also provided useful, exhaustive reviews of local-languages academic literature. A natural continuation of this book is Communicating Populism: Comparing Actor Perceptions, Media Coverage, and Effects on Citizens in Europe, edited by Carsten Reinemann et al.

Digital Media Strategies of the Far-Right in Europe and the United States, edited by Patricia Anne Simpson and Helga Druxes, emphasizes construction of virtual communities that create the illusion of political power far greater than the actual number of Far Right supporters might suggest. The case study for presenting these media strategies is the refugee crisis and the ways it is reflected in different countries, among which are Germany, Sweden, Hungary, and Greece. The same topic of populist media strategies—with more emphasis on new media, especially on social media—represents the main focus of Populism and the Web: Communicative Practices of Parties and Movements in Europe, edited by Mojca Pajnik and Birgit Sauer. A logical further step is presentation of a synthesis of online and offline media tactics, which is discussed in Post-Digital Cultures of the Far Right, edited by Maik Fielitz and Nick Thurston.