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Matthias Diermeier at Regierungsforschung.de of the NRW School of Governance External Publication 11. August 2021 Tailoring the Truth: An experimental approach to parliamentarians’ toleration of misinformation and responsiveness in Germany

The rise of populist radical right parties (PRRPs) is largely seen to have been triggered by a dealignment between voters and political elites and to have triggered an increasing supply of misinformation.

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An experimental approach to parliamentarians’ toleration of misinformation and responsiveness in Germany
Matthias Diermeier at Regierungsforschung.de of the NRW School of Governance External Publication 11. August 2021

Tailoring the Truth: An experimental approach to parliamentarians’ toleration of misinformation and responsiveness in Germany

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The rise of populist radical right parties (PRRPs) is largely seen to have been triggered by a dealignment between voters and political elites and to have triggered an increasing supply of misinformation.

Consequently, the German populist radical right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is strongly associated with the notion that ‘fake news’ endanger democracy (Reuter et al., 2019). Whereas most studies focus on ‘fake news’ dynamics in social media, this contribution analyses one-to-one communication between politicians and constituents in an experimental setting. For this purpose, all 2,503 German parliamentarians of the federal political system receive an artificial inquiry including a piece of misinformation that circulates among the different electorates. The experiment reveals a division in political communication between established parties and the AfD. Politicians of established parties seem to be intrinsically driven by the ideal of a good democratic representative. They significantly abstain from tolerating misinformation, are more responsive and their overall communication behaviour is much less strategic. What is more, AfD parliamentarians are seven times as eager to tolerate ‘fake news’ – a number that becomes even higher when facing an immigration related piece of misinformation circulating within the populist radical right’s electorate. Finally, the AfD’s communication behaviour reflects their intention to sow distrust in the German society, economy, and administration

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An experimental approach to parliamentarians’ toleration of misinformation and responsiveness in Germany
Matthias Diermeier at Regierungsforschung.de of the NRW School of Governance External Publication 11. August 2021

Tailoring the Truth: An experimental approach to parliamentarians’ toleration of misinformation and responsiveness in Germany

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