Populism and Media Policy Failure

Far right populist politicians and movements have secured high levels of visibility thanks to often compliant media outlets and unregulated digital platforms. The pursuit of media coverage and the communication of rage are no longer incidental but essential to the growth of reactionary populisms. Yet, while prominent liberal media outlets are ‘aghast’ at events such as the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote, little attention has been paid to the structural conditions and policy frameworks that have facilitated the circulation of clickbait and misinformation, together with the incessant coverage of their leaders, that have been exploited by far right movements. This article identifies four areas of ‘media policy failure’ that have nurtured highly skewed media environments and concludes by calling for a new policy paradigm based around redistribution that aims to reconstruct media systems in order to undermine the appeal of populist forces on the far right.

Tags: Brexit, Extreme Right, Far right populists, Trump