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

Communications 45 (2):156-175 (2020)
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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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