Populism and the Media

Journal issue, 15. March 2019.

*Moment Journal*
(Vol 6, No1, June 2019)

Call for Articles


Populism has been emerging as an indicator of the deep crisis of liberal democracies in our times. However, contrary to popular belief, populism is not an exception, deviation or malfunction of actual (neo)liberal democracies, rather, it is in itself an inevitable component of modern democracies and a symptom of neoliberal hegemony’s crisis.

After the attacks against public broadcasting which started in 1970’s, commercial broadcasting became widespread in 1980’s and brought about horizontal and vertical consodilation. Along with the emanation of huge media empires in countries such as England, USA and Italy, the press’s informing and public responsibilities were pushed to the background. Therefore, a media language has become dominant, which targeted and constructed increasingly diversifying, growing and average tastes. In the cracks of the media’s dominant language, a mob culture is sprouting out of populism, and being gradually normalized. In addition to the concept of /infotainment/ referring to the intertwining of news language and entertaintment language, there occurred the concept of /politainment/ referring to the intertwining of politics, entertaintment and spectacle. When we conceive the transformation in the media in conjunction with the transformation in politics, we can realize how these two perfectly accompany each other. The transformation the media has undergone in the last decades tells a lot about the populism of our times to us.

Currently, the styles and rhetoric of populist movements and leaders all around the world are remarkably bearing resemblances to one another. Though there are significant differences among them, one of the common grounds of populist movements and leaders lies in their use of the mass media. In a time when politics becomes mediatized and performative, “the populist as an anti-hero” rises as one of the most adept characters of this show. The populist is an actor on whom to say much, yet due to a lack of organized willpower only he himself talks in an excessive and careless way. Of course, the symbolic elites and journalists who regard each and every word of the populist as a sign of wisdom play a crucial role in the mass recognition of his discourse. The media of our times is mainly inclined to cock its ear to the great scandals, crisis and noisy confusions as well as its commitment to spreading “bad news”; it pledges itself to presenting non-objectionable, comprehensible, remarkable and normative contents to the masses. That’s the reason why it rather values persons over abstract things, celebrities over anonymous people, scandals over approved behaviours, styles over contents and accidents over ordinary incidents. It’s no surprise that the rise of populism in politics goes hand in hand with the tabloidization and alleviation of contents in the media. Out of these two strides, both the tradesman and the media boss come out ahead. On the other hand, the most of the detriment resides in the citizen who needs the truth more than ever.

We mostly observe the overlapping between the assertion of populism as “the choice of the public” and the economic rationality that neoliberalism attributes to the public/consumer through relations of production in the media. The media claims that, it prepares all the contents by looking after “the will of the public”. Similarly, the populist defends his own ideas by ascribing them to the public or by putting forth deadly influential ideas as his own. In this sense, there surfaces a hidden complicity between the populist and the logic of media production.  As a result of this complicity, populism brings about an authoritarian moment in which the truth flies to pieces, the masses become unaware of what to believe; yet nobody raises objection to the entire willpower of the populist at all. Thus, it can be argued that populism reveals itself as the most prevalent prospect of neoliberal authoritarianism.

We are aiming at understanding this problem of our times via Moment Journal’s issue on “Populism and the Media” throughout the subheadings such as populism, mediatization, tabloidization and popular culture. We are looking forward to your empirical and theoretical contributions to our issue under the headings listed below.

·Populist style

·Populist rationality

·Populism and mediatization of politics

·Populism and news processes

·Populism and the social media

·Populism, the media and democracy

·Reflections of right and left wing populisms to our times

·Truth, post-truth and populism

·Populism and cultural war

·Populism and cultural power

·Dominance of the average and populism

·Conservative populism and the language of TV serials

·Populism and everyday life

·Populist rhetoric and disreputation of journalism

·Gender and populism

·Populism and anti-intellectualism

·Understandings of culture, art and aesthetics in conservative populism

*Publication Process: *

The manuscripts should be submitted to the Moment Journal till *March 15th, 2019.*


*Theme Editors:*

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tezcan Durna (Uğur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Foundation)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Burak Özçetin (Istanbul Bilgi University, Department of Media)

For detailed information and instructions of submission to /Moment Journal/, see: