Nicholas A. R. Fraser

Harvard University
Coauthors and affiliations
John W. Cheng (Tsuda University); Masaru Nishikawa (Tsuda University); Ikuma Ogura (Ibaraki University)
Populism; Immigration; Trade; Japan
Does media play a role in fomenting populist politics? Recent work suggests that news media plays a role in fostering populist attitudes. Europe-focused studies argue that tabloid media primes consumers to think about economic and cultural grievances and reinforces populists’ messages to voters by priming blame attribution toward left- and right-wing targets such as immigrants and the wealthy. Yet, populist politicians also distrust mainstream media, deploy emotive rhetoric, and frequently criticize experts to the point of promoting misinformation and conspiracies. Given that distrust underlies populist attitudes and conspiracy theory mentalities, it stands to reason that consumers who distrust mainstream media would be the most receptive to tabloid-style media that delivers emotive, anti-intellectual, partisan coverage of issues. To date, few, if any studies, show a clear causal link between distrust toward mainstream media and receptivity to tabloid-style media that delivers populist messages. Our study addresses this theoretical gap by examining a least likely case for populism, contemporary Japan.
Preferred audiences (pick two)
Immune or Untapped? Investigating Japanese Demand for Populist Media Content