Populist Counterframing of the Climate Movement: The Case of the Hungarian Incumbent Right


The paper’s aim is to understand how the populist right in Hungary answered the challenge of the climate movement, which became a significant issue in the year 2019. The paper answers the research question whether the Hungarian populist right’s narrative reactions differed from non-incumbent populist parties and movements, and to what extent the populist discourse defined these reactions. The paper analyses the content of the conservative, nationally circulated daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet and the government’s press releases between the 2018 general election and November 2020, the onset of the second wave of the Covid-19 in Hungary. The analyses of the identified frames (N = 171) demonstrate that the climate movement was interpreted as the new left, and political interests were suspected of supporting the movement in the background. The accusation of serving hidden political and economic interests and being a new form of the political left served the effort to discredit the climate movement. The results also indicate that the narrative reaction of the Hungarian populist right followed the general communication and policy agenda of the Hungarian government, rather than the inherent discursive patterns of populism. It could be rightly assumed that this interrelation is the consequence of the incumbency and strong centralization of the populist right in Hungary.

climate change; climate movement; climate denial; populism; frame analysis; Hungary; Fidesz


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