Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Shameless normalization as a result of media co...


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Shameless normalization as a result of media control: The case of Austria

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Discourse and Society
Issue number6
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)788-804
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date3/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Far-right populist parties instrumentalize the media and intervene into processes of mediatization in significantly different ways, depending on socio-political contexts, their position of power, their role in government or opposition and – related to the latter – their specific access to media. In this paper, I focus on one of the many ways propagandistic tools are employed to control the relevant agenda and information being disseminated by both traditional media and online, in other words ‘message control’. Message control illustrates one of many steps of normalization of far-right agenda. The concept of ‘message control’ emerged from the specific propaganda tool developed by the former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his followers and implies launching and thus controlling select information via weekly press conferences, briefings, personal conversations, back-ground conversations ( Hintergrundgespräche), and text messages, and to financially subsidize only those media that reported favorably about the activities of Kurz’s government. Thus, a new media logic based on favoritism, nepotism, and clientelism was established and normalized. This stands in contrast to Trumpism, which delegitimized all investigative journalism without explicitly attempting to control it. Former US President Donald Trump constitutes rather a prime example of Löwenthal and Guterman’, as he instrumentalized far-right and extreme-right media channels (such as Breitbart or Fox News) and extensively used Twitter to spread systematic disinformation.