Open Access

Undermining the legitimacy of the news media: How Swedish members of parliament use Twitter to criticise the news media


Over the last decade, the news media increasingly seem to have become a target for politically motivated criticism seeking to delegitimise the news media. The prevalence of delegitimising media criticism is, however, unclear. Hence, the purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which Swedish members of parliament (MPs) engage in delegitimising media criticism on Twitter, the party distribution of those engaging in such media criticism, and the targets and expressions of such media critique. Among other things, the findings show that when MPs tweet about the news media, they are more likely to be critical than supportive, and that a clear majority of tweets that are critical toward the news media contain delegitimising media criticism. Moreover, the results show that MPs from the political right – in particular the Moderate Party and the Sweden Democrats – are most active in tweeting delegitimising media criticism, and that the most common target is public service media.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Communication Science, Mass Communication, Public and Political Communication