Narrating the Covid-19 Crisis: How German populist far-right alternative online news media have framed the global pandemic during 2020.

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202106162920
Title: Narrating the Covid-19 Crisis: How German populist far-right alternative online news media have framed the global pandemic during 2020.
Author: Welker, Bianca
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202106162920
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/331224
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Euroopan ja pohjoismaiden tutkimuksen maisteriohjelma (European and Nordic Studies)
Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies
Magisterprogrammet i Europa- och Nordenstudier
Specialisation: Social Sciences Study Track
Social Sciences Study Track
Social Sciences Study Track
Abstract: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, alternative online news media were predominately thought to spread false information on the coronavirus and heavily engage in conspiracy theories. The populist and far-right news outlets especially were said to strategically exploit people’s fears to further their own hate campaigns against migrants, political elites and the established media. This research aims to give a more detailed account of how five German populist far-right digital news outlets framed the ongoing crisis from January to May 2020 and managed to integrate the topic into their established narratives. For this qualitative content analysis, articles from the digital news sites of Compact, Junge Freiheit, Eigentümlich Frei, Deutsche Stimme and Zuerst were analysed regarding the topics, claims, actors and rhetoric devices that they used. The result of the study was that, rather than being swayed by strategic whims to exploit the crisis at all costs, the outlets relied on their established framing habits and were able to incorporate the crisis into all of their usual reporting. They were able to integrate the topic into overarching narratives, which not only confirmed worldviews held by their established reader base, but may also hold significant sway over new readers seeking reassurance in uncertain times. Finally, the thesis directed attention to the importance that language and presentation played in accomplishing this balancing act, establishing the need for further research on the language of the populist far right online.
Subject: Covid-19
alternative news media
online right-wing media
crisis framing
narrative analysis
far-right populism
Germany
comparative media studies
qualitative content analysis
anti-lockdown demonstrations
disinformation


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