Media Platforming and the Normalisation of Extreme Right Views

20.02.2023 - 12:00 bis 13:30
A 5,6 Raum A 231 und online über Zoom
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
Diane Bolet
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
University of Zürich

Media outlets are often blamed for fueling the rise of extreme right actors and ideas by exposing them to mass audiences. However, giving a platform to extreme right actors could also weaken their controversial ideas, either because these actors appear too extreme or cannot withstand robust questioning by interviewers. We challenge this perspective and test the effect of platforming extreme right actors via large pre-registered survey experiments in Australia and the United Kingdom. We randomly assign if participants are exposed to the real-world audio of interviews of two extreme right actors on the television network Sky News. In line with expectations, we show that unchallenged interviews consistently fuel extreme right beliefs and foster the belief that a larger share of the public subscribe to their views. When interviewers robustly challenge extreme right actors during interviews, effects on attitudes subside, but platforming still contributes to the normalisation of extreme right beliefs. In contrast to expectations, we find that exposure on online platforms changes views and second-order beliefs as much as on mainstream media outlets. Our study provides a robust evaluation of common media strategies of engaging the far right. Platforming extreme right actors has side effects on normative beliefs, even if robust interviewing counters negative attitudinal effects.