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Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy CrisisExplaining Trends and Cross-National Differences in Established Democracies$
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Carolien van Ham, Jacques Thomassen, Kees Aarts, and Rudy Andeweg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793717.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

Media Malaise and the Decline of Legitimacy

Media Malaise and the Decline of Legitimacy

Any Room for Good News?

(p.95) 6 Media Malaise and the Decline of Legitimacy
Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy Crisis

Peter Van Aelst

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes media malaise theories and their consequences for legitimacy. These theories argue that the increasing availability of information through new and old media and increasingly negative tone of media are to blame for declining legitimacy. The chapter examines these claims by providing a systematic review of empirical research on media and political support. It first investigates whether news coverage has become more negative over time, and then examines the micro process that might explain the link between media coverage and political support. Empirical evidence suggests that where coverage has become more negative, this occurred before the 1990s and has levelled off since, and is concentrated primarily in election news. Negative political news does have a modest impact on political support once controlled for level of education, but that effect can be positive and negative, depending on the medium, the receiver, and the indicator of political support.

Keywords:   media malaise, media mobilization, media content, political support, political trust

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