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Refugee Frames in the Media and Public Opinion: Media Effects, Minority Silence, and the No-Vote

Fri, May 26, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo Ballroom H


Asylum seekers became the dominant issues in the 2015 European news. The research question of the current paper is how frames in the news on asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016 influenced both public opinion and the willingness to self-censorship, and how these affect electoral behavior. Data come from an automated content analysis of newspapers and television news in the Netherlands and from additional waves of a 2012-2016 public opinion panel survey. The paper documents frame transmission from the news media to voters. Are refugees victims rather than intruders, and can we afford to help because we are affluent rather than deprived? The paper documents adoption to the majority frame in the media, but also the emergence of self-censored minority opinions. Voters with a willingness to self-censorship on asylum seekers did however express their “no” in the Dutch referendum on the association treaty of the EU with Ukraine in 2016.