The Populist Radical Right and the Media in the Benelux: Friend or Foe?
Although most scholars acknowledge that the media play an instrumental role in furthering or limiting the spread of populism, the exact nature of the relationship between right-wing populist parties (RWPPs) and the media remains poorly understood. This article analyzes the various ways in which the media choose to deal with RWPPs in the Benelux region (i.e., Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). Using evidence from interviews with media practitioners (n = 46), the findings suggest that in the absence of a credible right-wing populist challenger, media practitioners in Luxembourg and Wallonia adhere to strict demarcation, whereas the Dutch and Flemish media have become gradually more accommodative to RWPPs. This study makes two contributions to the field. First, it systematically theorizes the different ways in which the media can approach the populist radical right. Second, it provides illustrative, comparative evidence about the rationale for why some media provide space for RWPPs while others deny it, thereby illuminating the under-researched topic of societal responses to the populist radical right.