Communications 47 (1):50-72 (2022)

Politicotainment and democratainment are concepts used to identify the relevance of popular culture for citizenship. Among the most prominent examples of these concepts are political fiction series. Merging political facts with fictional narratives, such series provide a unique opportunity to engage the audience with political matters in an entertaining way. But can these series also affect the agenda of the public and the news media? Based on aggregate-level data of Google search queries and news-media content, the current study examines the agenda-setting effects of the political fiction series Borgen. Time-series analyses show that only a few Borgen episodes affected the public agenda and even fewer the news media agenda. Evidence is also found for negative patterns. Thus, we should be careful not to overestimate the impact of political fiction in terms of agenda-setting effects: It occasionally has agenda-setting effects but more often not.
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DOI 10.1515/commun-2019-0161
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