Mainstream or an alternate universe? Locating and analysing the radical right media products in the Hungarian media network


  • Gabriella Szabó Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Science
  • Márton Bene Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Science

Abstract Views: 826 PDF Downloads: 1150


Despite voluminous literature explaining the emergence and the electoral contours of right wing radicalism in Europe, little is known about the location of radical right mass communication channels in the media sphere. The aim of this article is to fill the gap by identifying and analysing the positions of the radical right media within the network structure of the general media sphere. To do so, Hungary is an excellent illustrative case as a country in which the radical right wing Jobbik party won 21 percent of the votes in the 2014 parliamentary election that cemented its status as by far the largest radical right group in Central Europe. We provide an issue-centred approach in which the media networks of two of the most controversial political topics of the year 2014 in Hungarian politics are explored. To compose the networks, we concentrate on the interaction ties that are defined here as direct, and explicit citations or hyperlinks to the content of other media products. The empirical test of ideal typical networks reveals that the radical right products stay under the radar of the mainstream media. It is our finding that the representatives of the radical media remain on the fringe of the media sphere in Hungary.

Author Biography

Gabriella Szabó, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Science

Gabriella Szabó (PhD) is a full-time researcher at Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her research interests lie in the area of political communication and communities, studies on public sphere and media.


Barta J. (2008) A szélsőjobboldali tematika kezelése a magyar médiában. Médiakutató, IX. évfolyam, 4. szám, pp. 51–60.

Bernát A. – Juhász A. – Krekó P. – Molnár Cs. (2013) A radikalizmus és cigányellenesség gyökerei a szélsőjobboldal szimpatizánsai körében. In: Kolosi Tamás and Tóth István György (eds.): Társadalmi riport 2012. Budapest: TÁRKI, pp. 355–376.

Bernáth G. (2014) Harc a jelenlétért és a jelentésért. A magyarországi szélsőségesek és

a média fősodrának rutinjai. Médiakutató, XV. évfolyam, 3. szám. pp 101-113.

Birenbaum, G. and Villa, M. (2003) The Media and Neo-populism in France. In: Mazzoleni, Gianpietro - Stewart, Julianne - Horsfield, Bruce (eds) Media and Neo-populism: a Contemporary Analysis. Westport: Praeger Publishers. pp. 45-67.

Boomgaarden, H. G. and Vliegenthart, R. (2007) Explaining the Rise of Anti-Immigrant Parties: The Role of News Media Content in the Netherlands. Electoral Studies, Vol. 26., No. 2., pp. 404-417.

Borgatti, S. and Everett, M. G. (1999) Models of core/periphery structures. Social Networks, Vol 21, Issue 4 pp. 275–295.

Borgatti, S. – Everett, M. G. – Freeman, Lin C. (2002) Ucinet for Windows: Software for Social Network Analysis. Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies.

Bos, L. - Van der Brug, W. – De Vreese, C. (2010) Media Coverage of Right-Wing Populist Leaders, Communications, Vol. 35. No. 2. pp. 141-163.

Carter, E. (2005) The Extreme Right in Western Europe. Manchester University Press.

Clauset, A. – Newman, M. E. J. – Moore, C. (2004) Finding community structure in very large networks. Phys. Rev., E 70 (6): 066111

Conover, M.D. – Ratkiewicz, J., Francisco, M., Goncalves, B., Flammini, A., and Menczer, F.

(2011): Political polarization on Twitter. Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs

and Social Media.

Retrived from:

Data of download: 20th of February, 2014

Csárdi, G. and Nepusz T. (2006): The igraph software package for complex network research. InterJournal Complex Systems 1695

Eatwell, R. (2005) Charisma and the Revival of the European Extreme Right. In: Rydgren, Jens (ed): Movements of Exclusion: Radical Right-Wing Populismin the Western World. New York: Nova Science. pp. 101-120.

Ellinas, A. (2010) The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe. Playing the Nationalist Card. Cambridge University Press.

Ellinas, A. (2013) The rise of Golden Dawn: The new face of the far-right in Greece. South European Society and Politics Vol 18, Issue 4. pp. 543–565.

Gerring, J. (2007) Is There a (Viable) Crucial-Case Method? Comparative Political Studies, Vol 40, No. 3, pp. 231-253.

Gimes G. – Juhász A. – Kiss K. – Krekó P. (2009) Látlelet 2009. Tanulmány a szélsőjobboldal megerősödésének okairól, Magyar Antirasszista Alapítvány, Budapest.

Girvan, M. and Newman M. E. J. (1999) Community structure in social and biological networks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99, pp. 7821–7826

Heller M. (2010) Euroscepticism in the European Parliament. Elections of June 2009.

Country Report: Hungary.

Retrived from:

Date of download: 5th of March, 2013.

Jeskó J. – Bakó J. – Tóth Z. (2012) A radikális jobboldal webes hálózatai. Politikatudományi Szemle, XXI/1. pp. 81-101.

Karácsony G. and Róna D. (2010) A Jobbik titka. A szélsőjobb magyarországi megerősödésének lehetséges okairól. Politikatudományi Szemle, XIX. évfolyam, 1. szám, pp. 31-63.

Koopmans, R. (2004) Movements and media: Selection processes and evolutionary dynamics in the public sphere. Theory and Society, Vol. 33, pp. 367–391

Koopmans, R. and Olzak, S. (2004) Discursive Opportunities and the Evolution of Right-WingViolence in Germany. American Journal of Sociology Vol. 110 Issue 1. pp. 198-230.

Krippendorff, K. (2004) Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Mammone, A. – Godin, E. – Jenkins, B. (2012) Varieties in Right Wing Extremisim in Europe. London: Routledge.

Mazzoleni, G. - Stewart, J. - Horsfield, B. (2003) Media and Neo-populism: a Contemporary Analysis. Westport: Praeger Publishers.

Mikenberg, M. (2001) The radical right in public office: Agenda‐setting and policy effects. West European Politics, Vol 24. Issue 4. pp 1-24.

Morris, M. – Mölzer, A. – Obermayr, F. – Lunacek, U. – Kolarska-Bobińska, L. (2013) Populist snapshots: Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) in the European Parliament.

Retrived from:

Date of download: 5th of November, 2014.

Mudde, C. (2007) Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge University Press.

Mudde, C. (2014) Fighting the system? Populist radical right parties and party system change. Party Politics. Published online before print February 3, 2014,

doi: 10.1177/1354068813519968

Munk V. (2013) A romák reprezentációja a többségi media híreiben az 1960-as évektõl napjainkig. Médiakutató, XIV évfolyam, 2. szám. pp. 89-100.

Newman, M. E. J. (2006) Modularity and community structure in networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103 (23): 8577–8696.

Norris, P. (2005) Radical Right: Parties and electoral competition. Cambridge University Press.

Opsahl, T. (2009) Structure and Evolution of Weighted Networks. University of London (Queen Mary College), London, UK, pp. 104-122.

Opsahl, T. – Colizza, V. – Panzarasa, P. – Ramasco, J. (2008): Prominence and control: The weighted rich-club effect. Physical Review Letters, 101 (168702).

Opsahl, T. and Panzarasa, P. (2009) Clustering in weighted networks. Social Networks, 31 (2), pp. 155-163

Opsahl, T. - Agneessens, F. - Skvoretz, J. (2010) Node centrality in weighted networks: Generalizing degree and shortest paths. Social Networks 32 (3), 245-251.

Petrocik, J. R. (1996) Issue-Ownership in Presidential Elections with a 1980 Case Study. American Journal of Political Science, Issue 40 No. 3. pp. 825-850.

Shields, J. (2007) The extreme right in France: from Pétain to Le Pen. London: Routledge.

Skenderovic, D. (2009) The Radical Right in Switzerland. Continuity and Change, 1945-2000. London: Berghahn Books.

Stewart J. – Mazzoleni, G. – Horsfield, B. (2003) Power to the Media Managers. In: Mazzoleni, G. - Stewart, J. - Horsfield, B. (ed.) Media and Neo-populism: a Contemporary Analysis. Westport: Praeger Publishers. pp 217-237.

Rydgren, J. and Van Holsteyn, J (2004) Holland and Pim Fortuyn: A Deviant Case or the Beginning of Something New? Current Politics and Economics of Europe, Vol 13 No. 3. pp. 209-238.

Rydgren, J. (2007) The Sociology of the Radical Right. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol 33 pp. 241-262

Udris, L. (2012) Is the populist radical right (still) shaping the news? Media attention, issue ownership and party strategies in Switzerland. National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century. Working Paper No. 53

Vercellone-Smith, P. – Jablokow, K. – Friedel, C. (2012) Characterising communication networks in a web-based classroom: Cognitive styles and linguistic behavior of self-organizing groups in online discussions. Computers & Education, 59(2), pp. 222-235.

Vidra, Zs. and Fox, J. (2012) The Radicalization of Media Discourse. The Rise of the Extreme Right in Hungary and the Roma Question. CPS Working Papers. Budapest: CEU Center for Policy Studies.

Vliegenthart, R. – Boomgaarden, H. G.- Van Spanje, J. (2012) Anti-Immigrant Party Support and Media Visibility: A Cross-Party, Over-Time Perspective. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 22(3), pp.315–358.

Walgrave, S. and De Swert, K. (2004) The making of the (Issues of the) Vlaams Blok. Political Communication, Vol. 21 No. 4. pp. 479-500.

Watts, D. J. and Strogatz, S. H. (1998) Collective dynamics of “small-world” networks. Nature 393, pp. 440-442

Wodak, R. – Khosravinik, M. – Mal, B. (2013) Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. London: Bloomsbury Academics.




How to Cite

Szabó, G. and Bene, M. 2015. Mainstream or an alternate universe? Locating and analysing the radical right media products in the Hungarian media network. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 1, 1 (Mar. 2015). DOI: