When the media matter for politics: Partisan moderators of the mass media's agenda-setting influence on parliament in Belgium

Rens Vliegenthart*, Stefaan Walgrave

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, we investigate which factors moderate the agenda-setting influence of the mass media on the Belgian parliament during the period 1993-2000. Based on elaborate codings of the media, parliamentary questions and interpellations, party manifestos, government agreements and ministerial meetings, we employ a multi-level time-series model. The results indicate that especially party characteristics (party size, incumbent or opposition party, issue ownership) and the government agenda influence the dependency of parliament on media coverage. Furthermore, we find an increase in the extent of media influence through time, suggesting an increasing presence of 'media logic' in the behaviour of Belgian MPs. Irrespective of all those contingent factors, the mass media determine the Belgian parliamentary agenda to a considerable degree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-342
Number of pages22
JournalParty Politics
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Belgium
  • content analysis
  • mass media
  • parliament
  • political agenda-setting

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