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Mass media occurrence as a political career maker

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Ample work in political communication showed that high-level politicians get more media attention than their lower ranking colleagues. With power comes media attention. More than hard work, charisma, or experience, it is the political function performed by politicians that is the crucial factor in explaining how much media attention they receive. But what about the opposite relationship: does media attention also generate power? In this paper, we examine the media path leading to power. Basically, two important career steps of politicians are assessed: becoming a party leader and becoming a minister; we test whether, compared to those who did not make a top career, the politicians who came to take these steps were more prominent in the media before they moved up and became elite politicians. We draw on the case of Belgium here and leverage on a longitudinal automated media content analysis (2000-2020) combined with a data set of 532 national/regional politicians and their careers. The study finds that media occurrences matters for being promoted to a top function in Belgium, more so for becoming a minister than for becoming a party leader. Furthermore, rejecting our initial idea based on political mediatization theories, the influence of media occurrence does not seem to increase through time for both functions.
Tijdschrift: The international journal of press/politics
ISSN: 1940-1612
Volume: 99
Aantal pagina's: 18
Jaar van publicatie:2021
Trefwoorden:A1 Journal article
Toegankelijkheid:Closed