German media has helped reinforce the image of immigrants as “aliens” — sometimes even in exaggerated terms — since the first guest workers came to Germany in the 1950s. By focusing primarily on the problems associated with migration in Germany, the report shows that media have helped contribute to an atmosphere of polarization among the German public.
Voters’ brains connect words, phrases, images, values, and emotions, and these connections — known as networks of association — influence their receptiveness to political messages, often far more strongly than facts and rational arguments. This report shows that to reach those who have not yet made up their mind on a particular issue, advocates and leaders need to understand the associations a term such as “immigrant” spark in the mind of the electorate and strengthen positive associations while weakening negative ones.
What politicians say about a crisis — and the venues they choose tocommunicate with their constituents — have a disproportionate effect on the public‘s perception of that crisis. In the Netherlands, the rhetoric used by right-wing populist politicians is often more effective than that of moderates because their rhetoric conveys passion and emotion, and is more readily picked up by modern media who favor crisis and controversy.
The size and characteristics of immigration to the UK have changed significantly. Immigrants are more numerous, more mobile, and more diverse than ever before. This report looks at the differing immigration patterns.
Since 1999, concern about immigration in Britain has reached levels never seen before in the history of public opinion research, and surveys show strong support for tougher immigration laws. But opinions vary: younger, better-educated people and those who tend to live in areas with a longer history of immigration are more tolerant than older, less-educated people in more settled communities with low levels of immigration.
Recent developments in the United States (including the 2008 elections and shifts in organized labor’s stance on immigration) have created new openings for comprehensive immigration reform, possibly including a path to legal residence and citizenship for illegal immigrants. But the author argues that the extent of this opening may be overstated by some advocates.
Since 2000, the German government has undertaken a series of steps to reform laws and shape public opinion in order to bring about better integration and managed migration. This can be said to constitute a new policy paradigm, the goal of which is to integrate nonnationals and promote harmonious community relations.
U.S. media coverage of immigration has hindered effective policy reform for years, a trend which has been exacerbated by the recent transformation in the ways Americans get their news. This has conditioned and even distorted public perceptions by portraying a largely gradual, orderly, and legal phenomenon as chaotic, criminal, and controversial.