Media giving the far right room to grow

Kathleen McKinnon

The distinction between “thin” and “thick” ideology for populism is useful (Kraemer, 1296) when looking at populist movements. It shows the differences between where there is more salience on a particular right-winged movement than another and not only that, but also in whether or not these movements are strong to begin with- having a good ideological base.

I would argue that there is perhaps more of a thick ideology present now than when the Kraemer article was written because it was in 2017 just after the election of Donald Trump and before a wave of populism in many European countries, or at least during the outset of this. That means that there have to be some deeper connections in the ideology and this is likely due to the role of the media in sensationalizing issues and reporting on far-right issues in other countries such as in the US as well as how quickly non mainstream events can be spread. This creates a network for the far-right to deepen their ideology, although international aspects are not a new phenomenon. Not all far-right ideas and things shared in media pick up enough momentum to become important in seeing what the right-winged populist believes, however as in the case of the Hebdo event, there is an aspect of a thick ideology that is emerging since there was a popular aspect of supporting Hebdo in the mainstream media as well as by people at large (Neffati, 288). This predates the election of Trump, however, shows that there is a united front and movement towards right-winged populism that suggest it does go beyond thin ideology in some aspects, however, there remain weaknesses that have allowed right-wing populism to fade somewhat in recent years and perhaps it will fade back to think ideology despite media having given populism some help in becoming salient.

Imen Neffati, “Anti-sociologisme, Zionism, and Islamophobia in Philippe Val’s Charlie Hebdo” French Cultural Studies (2021) 32(3):280-295.

Nicole Doerr, “Bridging language barriers, bonding against immigrants: A visual case study of transnational network publics created by far-right activists in Europe” Discourse & Society 28(1) (2017): 3–23.

One Reply to “Media giving the far right room to grow”

  1. I agree with your point about how easily populism can spread and how the interconnectedness of the world only amplifies the how transnational the spread of ideas can be. It was interesting to see how after the Trump election and “Trumpism” became popular in America, we also see an increase in populism in Europe around the same time.

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