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Negativity about Europe: Does it propel parties’ media visibility?

  • Beatrice Eugster EMAIL logo , Silke Adam , Severin Jansen and Michaela Maier
From the journal Communications


In recent decades, the prevalence of negative communication has intensified across the world. In this article, we seek to understand the mechanisms that spread negativity about a unified Europe. We study the specific conditions under which negative party communication boosts media visibility, focusing on the role of country-specific party conflicts on European Union (EU) integration. Our analysis is based on content analysis data of parties’ press releases and media coverage in the 12 weeks preceding the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in seven countries (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom). We find that EU-negative party communication by and large does not matter for party visibility in the media, though the results provide scant evidence that cross-national differences relate to a country’s party conflict.


The authors cordially thank Hajo Boomgaarden and Nicolas Merz as well as the participants of the 2018 ICA EU panel on the “Sinking ship or rising star” in Prague and the workshop on “European elections and political structuring” at the WZB in Berlin taking place in May 2018 as well as both anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions regarding previous versions of this paper.


The study was funded with grants from the Swiss National Foundation under Grant 10017E-144592/1 to Silke Adam and by the German Research Foundation under Grant MA 2244/5–1 and the Research Group Communication, Media and Politics at the University of Koblenz-Landau to Michaela Maier.


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Published Online: 2021-11-05
Published in Print: 2021-11-03

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