Toward a Transnational Information Ecology on the Right? How right-wing online news sites in Europe and the US link to each other

A new study shows that right-wing online media are transnationally interconnected through hyperlinks and form a joint right-wing news ecosystem. In doing so, they do not aim for demarcation but seek to connect with a broader public.

While the political right in Europe and the US has become increasingly transnationally interconnected over the past few years, alternative media offers with a clear right-wing ideological positioning have established themselves and are explicitly aimed at a particular target group of recipients. The Weizenbaum researchers Annett Heft, Curd Knüpfer, and Susanne Reinhardt, as well as Eva Mayerhöffer from Roskilde University, analyzed how alternative right-wing online news sites (RNS) are networked with each other in the digital space, both nationally and transnationally. A particular focus is on identifying shared reference points of such a right-wing news ecology on a transnational level. For this purpose, the authors investigate hyperlink networks between RNS in six Western democracies: Austria, Germany, the US, Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden.

The results show that RNS do establish alternative right-wing news ecologies via hyperlinks, within and across borders. Country-specific differences also became evident. The US particularly takes a unique position, as news portals there function as hubs for transnational connections from European RNS. Overall, it becomes evident that the digital news ecology on the far right does not form an insulated, alternative sphere but rather seeks to link up to legacy media and thus to the public sphere at large.

The paper "Toward a Transnational Information Ecology on the Right? Hyperlink Networking among Right-Wing Digital News Sites in Europe and the United States", published in the International Journal of Press/Politics, is available online here.

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