Media attention to the Far-right in three Dutch Newspapers 1986-2004. Characteristics and trends

Pytrik Schafraad, Fred Wester, Peer Scheepers


There are many assumptions about the contents of media coverage of the far-right and its possible effects. Yet, these assumptions lack empirical arguments. In this contribution, the authors provide an answer to the important question how media cover the far-right. They do so from a longitudinal perspective, using systematic quantitative content analysis of three Dutch newspapers. The assumption that Dutch newspapers follow a ‘minimal attention policy’ does not hold. Throughout the research period newspaper coverage of the far-right becomes increasingly versatile and although concentrating on negative aspects of the far-right, increasingly open to positive support for the far-right. In the last three years of the research period, the majority of the coverage concerns Fortuyn’s populist right party LPF. Whereas at first the coverage of this party fits in the general picture of coverage on the far-right, towards the end of the research period the coverage of LPF is increasingly diverse and less concentrated on negative aspects.


News papers, far right, content analysis, longitudinal research,

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