Journalism Norms and the Absence of Media Populism in the Irish General Election 2016
The 2007 financial crisis and consequent programme of austerity brought deep disruption to Irish politics and exasperated public hostility towards mainstream politics and so-called elites. As the 2016 Irish General Election marked a historic low in support for established parties, this chapter examines the extent to which Irish news media inflamed populist and anti-political sentiment. Within the context of intensified mediatization (Mazzoleni, Mediatization of Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014) and widespread disaffection with political institutions, we expect to find that particular types of media, specifically tabloid and new digital media, enable anti-elite populist messaging by reflecting a higher tendency towards strategic game frames and personalization. However, we find that although the strategic game frame dominates coverage, only 2 per cent of stories reference any form of elitism and only 12 per cent manifest a definite populist rhetoric. These findings are discussed in terms of the prevailing values of professional journalism norms in Irish media.
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