When the Far Right Makes the News: Protest Characteristics and Media Coverage of Far-Right Mobilization in Europe

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Pietro Castelli Gattinara with Caterina Froio
Sage Journals
Comparative Political Studies


When do the media cover far-right protests? News coverage matters for the entrenchment of the far right in contemporary democracies, but little comparative research has looked at what drives news attention to far-right mobilization. We apply a classic input–output process model of news selection bias to test the hypothesis that the visibility of far-right protests events depends on the characteristics of protest initiators, type of action, and reactions. We appraise this via logistic regressions on an original dataset of 5972 protest events retrieved from online press releases by far-right groups (input) and national quality newspapers (output) in 11 European countries (2008–2018). The analysis confirms that news media are particularly responsive to contentious action, protest around migration issues, and action–reaction chains between political opponents. Our findings shed light on the role of news organizations in the success of the far-right and on the pathways by which these movements shape public agendas.