Hostile emotions: An exploratory study of far-right online commenters and their emotional connection to traditional and alternative news media
By Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk and Carina Riborg Holter
In this article, we explore media use through the perspective of emotions. We specifically focus on a contested group of media users, namely those who engage in uncivil online behaviour and have had one or several comments deleted by moderators due to xenophobic and racist content. Our point of departure is that the informants represent a particularly engaged yet controversial audience. Based on theoretical perspectives on ‘hostile emotions’ like anger and fear and how the news media function as ‘emotional regimes’, we explore how the informants talk about their worldview and how it affects their media choices. We argue that political fear constitutes a powerful part of the informants’ narratives, which again influences their media use. Even though they are highly sceptical and suspicious, the participants in the study seek information from a wide selection of traditional and alternative sources where their worldview is both contested and confirmed. Furthermore, the strong fear expressed by informants constitute an important element of the anger they feel towards the established news media. This particular anger is structured around the notion of objective reporting that they consider highly provocative, both factually and emotionally, as it does not match how they experience the world around them.
Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk and Carina Riborg Holter (2021) Hostile emotions: An exploratory study of far-right online commenters and their emotional connection to traditional and alternative news media, Journalism, OnlineFirst, 20 February 2021, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1464884920985726