Public television and anti-immigrant sentiments in Europe. A multilevel analysis of patterns in television consumption

  • 1 Department Political Communication & Journalism, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2 Marc Hooghe, Centre for Political Science Research, Leuven, Belgium
Laura Jacobs
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  • Department Political Communication & Journalism, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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and Marc Hooghe


Mass media have been accused of cultivating anti-immigrant sentiments in Western societies. Most studies on this topic, however, have not made a distinction between the types of television program (information vs. entertainment) or television station (public vs. commercial). Adopting a comparative approach, we use data from the six waves of the European Social Survey (ESS, 2002–2012, n = 162,987) to assess the relationship between individual and aggregate level patterns of television consumption and anti-immigrant sentiments in European societies. Individual television viewing time is positively associated with anti-immigrant sentiments, while frequent exposure to news and information programs is associated with lower levels of anti-immigrant sentiments. At the aggregate level we observe a positive effect of the total viewing time in society on anti-immigrant sentiments. In the conclusion we offer some suggestions on how this effect could be explained.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.