Michał Wenzel, Marta Żerkowska-Balas (2019)

Framing Effect of Media Portrayal of Migrants to the European Union: A Survey Experiment in Poland

Czasopismo East European Politics & Societies
Skrócona nazwa czasopisma EEPS
Numer/tom 33: 1(2019)
Ilość stron 44-65

ISSN: 1533-8371

As a result of the rise of online communication and political divisions based on symbols, rather than structure (decrease in the importance of class-based voting), citizens are increasingly linked to news outlets that articulate and reinforce their views. The process is facilitated by the spontaneous processes of bottom–up communication that excludes, in an iterative process, people who express views that are inconsistent with the prevailing opinion. The emergence of "information verticals" is a significant influence on attitudes to some issues covered in political debate. These effects operate with regard to so-called easy issues, that is, those rooted in emotions and in the symbolic sphere. Our article is an empirical test of our hypotheses about the effects of media framing of "hard" and "easy" issues. We apply a survey experiment method to verify whether contact with news coverage has an effect on attitudes, taking into account the political orientation and cognitive skills of citizens. Our empirical analyses confirm that a hostile media framing of migration changes respondents' attitudes no matter their level of cognitive engagement. The data come from Poland.