Keyword – political communication

Pólya, Tamás:

Pólya, Tamás:

Can the divisive rhetoric of authoritarian political leaders be overcome? An evolutionary psychological analysis and proposals for a communication strategy Pt. I.

The popularity of authoritarian political leaders cannot be countered unless we understand the logic of their acceptance by their followers. The first part of this paper describes this logic in a multidisciplinary framework, based on three notions. First, that much of the popularity of authoritarian leaders seems to stem from their followers’ sense of being threatened (evolutionary psychology, sociology, political science). Second, that the neural substrates for one’s political beliefs and attitudes partly overlap with those for the ‘sacred,’ deeply held beliefs that are constitutive of one’s identity (such as their religious faith), so that it is very difficult to change these beliefs by offering educative facts or information to the believers that are different from their own views, as the attempted change triggers a strong resistance by the neural and psychological mechanisms developed for safeguarding the subjects’ identity (neuroscience, sociology of religion). Third, when an individual is facing political views opposing his or her own views, s/he will react at the neural level as if s/he had encountered a threatening environmental stimulus (neuroscience). The question then is, how can one’s political beliefs and convictions be possibly altered if they react to opposing political views as if being threatened both physically and in their identity? What are the limits of, and chances for, intelligent political discussion if our evolutionarily shaped proclivities act so efficiently against attempted belief-change? This paper (and its follow-up, see Pólya 2020) offers some basic recommendations for a communication strategy that might be deployed against authoritarian leaders and their deeply divisive rhetoric.

Keywords: individual and group identity, threatening stimuli and the perception of threat, the neural substrate of political attitudes, authoritarian leavers and their followers, the hostile and divisive chetoric of conflict, political communication, evolutionary psychology

Can the divisive rhetoric of authoritarian political leaders be overcome? An evolutionary psychological analysis and proposals for a communication strategy Pt. I.

Médiakutató Winter 2019 pp. 7-18

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Pajor, Szabolcs:

Pajor, Szabolcs:

The Beginnings of Today’s Republican Party in the 1930s and its Developement until the 1960s

Over the past 100 years, the two major political parties of the United States, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have swapped places in the political and ideological fields. There used to be both progressives and conservatives in both parties, but to date we find almost only conservatives in the Republican Party. This study briefly presents the conservative development of the Republican Party. The roots of the party’s current identity, rhetoric, and political narrative can be found in the state of California during the Great Depression. In 1934, before a governoral election, Republicans entrusted their campaign to political advisers for the first time. During the election of the governor, the importance of media politics, professionalisation, campaign communication, and political narratives rose to a higher level. The Republican Party developed a new narrative resulting in a broad, motivated and committed voting base that continues to thrive to this day. This paper also shows how the trend that had started in California expanded and developed up until the 1960s, including President Richard Nixon himself and the infamous Southern strategy.

Keywords: American conservatism, Barry Goldwater, Southern Strategy, Frank Merriam, New Deal, political communication, Republican Party, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Whitaker and Baxter

The Beginnings of Today’s Republican Party in the 1930s and its Developement until the 1960s

Médiakutató Spring 2021 pp. 47-57

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Altheide, David L. – Merkovity, Norbert:

Altheide, David L. – Merkovity, Norbert:

How Does Fear and Attention-Based Politics Help Donald Trump and Other Right-Wing Autocrats?

This paper is about how the campaigns of Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 transformed American politics and invigorated right-wing autocrats throughout the globe. Donald Trump took the politics of fear to a new level by promoting the fear of immigrants, especially Mexicans, while demonising Muslims and other groups. Many American citizens supported this fear with ballots even when protests started in the U.S. against hateful attacks or thousands died because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The relativisation of objective facts and the spread of false news have been included in the toolbox of autocratic leaders like Trump. We need to recognise the dynamics of this process and take decisive action against them. This study argues that after the Trump years, the widespread dissemination of media literacy should be promoted, in which academics should also be involved.

Keywords: attention-based politics, autocratic transition, autocratic politicians, Donald Trump, fake news, George Floyd, media logic, political communication, politics of fear, U.S. presidential election, U.S. media

How Does Fear and Attention-Based Politics Help Donald Trump and Other Right-Wing Autocrats?

Médiakutató Spring 2021 pp. 11-20

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Bene, Márton – Petrekanics, Márton – Bene, Mátyás:

Bene, Márton – Petrekanics, Márton – Bene, Mátyás:

Who spends how much?

This study looks into Facebook’s political advertising sphere in the contexts of the 2019 European Parliamentary and the municipal election campaigns in Hungary. It focuses on the distribution of advertising expenditure between pro-government and oppositional actors, and in light of the ‘stealth media’ thesis (Kim et al., 2018) it also investigates the question of what type of Facebook pages are active in this advertising platform. Its findings show that there was an opposition dominance in terms of advertising expenditure in both campaigns. Also, the advertising sphere was largely dominated by official political actors, but a few highly partisan media outlets also played an important role. Pages with unidentifiable background, however, were marginal in this sphere, refuting the ‘stealth media’ hypothesis.

Keywords: political advertising, political communication, social media, stealth media

Who spends how much?

Médiakutató Autumn-Winter 2021 pp. 49-58

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N. Varagya, Szilvia:

N. Varagya, Szilvia:

In crisis: communication! Is communication in crisis?

The Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, reached Slovakia before the campaign period of the parliamentary elections. The intensity of the pandemic coverage by the Hungarian-language daily newspaper Új Szó was influenced by several factors such as the election campaign topics, unexpected election results and other relevant events for the Hungarian enthnic comunity, the new government’s political priorities, scandals and pandemic control measures. The frequency of pandemic thematisation in the daily newspaper followed the curves of each Covid-19 wave in Slovakia. During the studied period, as a result of party-neutral journalism, the pandemic did not become a divisive political issue for Hungarians in Slovakia. The examined contents of Új Szó (editorials, opinion articles, caricatures, op-eds of the above mentioned newspaper) mostly relied on the linguistic and stylistic turns of Slovak political communication, its hidden messages, and the emerging ‘war rhetoric’ concerning the national testing.

Keywords: Covid-19, epidemic communication, media communication, New Word journal, pandemic, political communication, propaganda, public rhetoric, Slovakia, war rhetoric

In crisis: communication! Is communication in crisis?

Médiakutató Autumn-Winter 2021 pp. 69-76

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Tóth, Tamás – Major, Zsolt Balázs:

Tóth, Tamás – Major, Zsolt Balázs:

Explicit and implicit populism

This paper presents content analysis methods designed to detect explicit and implicit populism. It outlines their theoretical embeddedness, practical applications, and methodological usefulness. It highlights that the above concepts consider populism a political communication style. Through the notions of explicit and implicit populism, the detection of articulated and latent dichotomies can be achieved in content analyses. This theorydriven paper also reviews relevant findings from previous empirical research and suggests ways of embedding the concepts of explicit and implicit populism in international comparative research.

Keywords: explicit populism, ideology, implicit populism, political communication, content analysis

Explicit and implicit populism

Médiakutató Summer 2022 pp. 37-46

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Burai, Krisztina:

Burai, Krisztina:

(Un)following for political reasons?

The proliferation of the internet and social networking sites has created a medium that enables users to access a wide range of news sources, and the multitude of content available means that citizens are forced to choose from the content available, for which the platform in the focus of my research, Facebook, offers a number of possibilities. My research attempts to answer the question of whether users use the various functions for managing political content on Facebook, which can reinforce the homogenisation of the information. This question is explored through a survey of 1,000 people, representative of key demographics. The findings show that only a small part of users use the positive or negative newsfeed editing features regularly.

Keywords: curated flows, Facebook, social media, political communication

(Un)following for political reasons?

Médiakutató Summer 2022 pp. 49-61

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Stumpf, Péter Bence – Szekeres, Tamás – Merkovity, Norbert:

Stumpf, Péter Bence – Szekeres, Tamás – Merkovity, Norbert:

Migrants during break time

The research presented in this paper examines the one-minute long news bulletins aired during the half-time breaks of the FIFA World Cup in 2018. The findings indicate that these news bulletins acted as a vehicle for the narratives of the government and were used to maximise the attention focused on the migration wave. The analysed cases show that reporting could serve political purposes both in terms of length and story selection. Although immigration was a prominent topic during the studied periods, it received even more airtime during the World Cup. It is beyond the reach of this study to analyse the effects of reporting on public opinion. However, the success of the Fidesz/KDNP party alliance in the 2018 legislative elections and the 2019 European elections suggests that this method of communication had been quite efficient, and the one-minute news blocks had served attention building purposes.

Keywords: attention-based politics, attention-building, FIFA World Cup, framing, immigration, migration, public service television, news programs, one-minute newscast, political communication

Migrants during break time

Médiakutató Summer 2021 pp. 39-51

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Sükösd, Miklós:

Sükösd, Miklós:

Orbán’s victims

This paper explores the key features of Viktor Orbán’s populist rhetoric, which remained essentially the same from 1989 to the 2020s. Orbán speaks in the name of the nation as a whole, envisions dangerous enemies instead of democratic political opponents, and mobilises against an external occupying power. By systematically evoking fear, the desire for revenge, and naming the ever-present enemies, he transforms historically rooted ressentiment, grievance culture and notions of (self)victimisation in Hungarian national identity into active hate politics. With his rhetoric, he awakens the desire for an authoritarian leader who saves us from a fearful and dangerous world with dictatorial state policies. Theoretically, I analyse Orbán’s speeches and their powerful impact with the concepts of speech act theory and securitisation. The texts include Orbán’s famous speech in 1989, and his series of seasonal addresses during the last twenty years (including a secondary analysis of a database of 41 speeches).

Keywords: national identity, orator, political communication, propaganda, ressentiment, rhetorics, securitisation, speech act theory, Viktor Orbán

Orbán’s victims

Médiakutató Autumn-Winter 2022 pp. 59-77

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Egres, Dorottya:

Egres, Dorottya:

Strategic maneuvering in the polylogue of nuclear energy

The four reactors of the Paks nuclear power plant need to be shut down in the next decade. In order to maintain the approximately 40 per cent ratio of nuclear energy in the national energy production, Parliament gave its provisional acceptance to the expansion in 2009. The future energy policy of Hungary and the expansion financed and contracted by Russia has been on the political and media agendas ever since. This paper proposes an approach to the extended theory of pragma-dialectics, strategic maneuvering, that is suitable for the analysis of an extended polylogue. It is aimed at showing that the three aspects of strategic maneuvering (audience demand, topical potential, and presentational devices) can also be analysed in extended and spatially not localised argumentative situations with multiple players. For the examination of the three aspects, it studies the public opinion polls about the expansion from 2009 to 2017, and analyses the official online discourse about Paks 2 of selected political, environmentalist and expert actors in the same time period.

Keywords: argumentation, discourse analysis, nuclear energy, political communication, political deliberation, polylogue, pragma-dialectics, public opinion poll, strategic maneuvering

Strategic maneuvering in the polylogue of nuclear energy

Médiakutató Winter 2020 pp. 55-68

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Egres, Dorottya:

Egres, Dorottya:

The discursive sanctioning of political incivility in the Blanka Nagy case

Blanka Nagy, a high school student spoke up at a protest organised against the Hungarian overtime law in 2018. In her speech, she uttered profanities against the ruling political elite. This paper explores a case of incivility that broke the norms of political communication, while discussing the context-dependency and politically motivated nature of discursive sanctioning. It employs the methodology of frame analysis and studies how the most visited news media outlets and the comments under the news articles shared on social media framed and discursively sanctioned the high schooler and her profanities. Its findings suggest that the positive framing of the incivility can be tied to the addressees of the speech, while the negative framing can be connected to the attributes of the speaker

Keywords: Blanka Nagy, discursive sanctioning, framing, incivility, news media, political communication, profanity, social media

The discursive sanctioning of political incivility in the Blanka Nagy case

Médiakutató Spring 2022 pp. 61-70

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Pólya, Tamás:

Pólya, Tamás:

Can the divisive rhetoric of authoritarian political leaders be overcome?

Authoritarian political leaders’ divisive rhetoric seems to rely on our proclivities and mechanisms developed in the course of human evolution. One’s political beliefs are both fundamental to and instrumental in securing one’s attachment to a group and thus in maintaining a stable identity. That explains why humans are open to political messages that reassure them about group affiliation, so much so that it is very difficult to change their political beliefs by offering them educative facts or information different from their own views (cf. 2020, 2019). However, once the inner logic of authoritarian politicians’ hostile and divisive rhetoric is laid bare, that kind of rhetoric becomes susceptible to be dismantled and overcome by those wanting to reject it. In my previous papers, I tried to identify the main obstacles of and chances for such anti-authoritarian communicative efforts. This article specifies further crucial elements of this integrative, peaceful communication approach—e.g. addressing the whole electoral group and forming alliances that cover differing electoral views—and discusses the differences between dominant and competent leaders.

Keywords: conciliatory political rhetoric, dominance versus prestige in rank acquisition, evolutionary psychology, group cohesion, political alliances, political communication, social rank

Can the divisive rhetoric of authoritarian political leaders be overcome?

Médiakutató Summer 2020 pp. 77-87

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