Has the german media coverage strengthened the AFD (far-right)

On Tuesday, Johanna Dürrholz complained about four politicians in the SZ. In the talkshow #hartaberfair the Politicians had found a clear culprit  for the AFD success: „the media“.

Former ZDF chief editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender, who is a guest on the programme, therefore sees the danger of an „instrumentalisation of the media“, with which one wants to distract attention from one’s own inability. (26. September 2017, SZ: Plasberg zur Wahl – „Politik ist keine Casting-Show“)

However, Georg Diez had found a similar „scapegoat“ in Der Spiegel on Sunday:“How the right turn was talked about“.

The Right set the themes, as it did in the German television election campaign, drove the other political forces and also the media before it, demonstrating that the rules of democratic discourse are broken when anti-democratic forces come into play. (24. September 2017, Der Spiegel: AfD in the Bundestag – How the right turn was brought about)

But what do the data show? Did the „media“ hold the AFD the stirrup? At least for the online media, the verdict is quite clear, as our infographics show:

Somtypes Infographic - Has the media coverage strengthened the AFD during the 2017 election campaign

Conclusion:

A monocausal attribution would of course be dubious. However, it is noticeable that above all such reputable newspapers Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine provided AFD with a remarkable amount of attention.

All in all, it is also noticeable that all online news media have reported more about the AFD than about the other „small“ parties (FDP, Die Linke and the Greens).

Even though AFD‘s policy was certainly been critically questioned, one can assume that for a protest party such as AFD, the old advertising principle „Bad News are Good News“ counts and in this did „The (online) media“ support the AFD with a free reach and awareness campaign.