The Mediatization of E-Campaigning: Evidence From German Party Websites in State, National, and European Parliamentary Elections 2002–2009



The rise of e-campaigning is often associated with its ability to circumvent journalistic principles of news selection and presentation. By this, parties and candidates are said to free themselves from the discretionary power of the mass media and to reach voters in an unfiltered way. This conventional wisdom is tested through a comparative content analysis of German party websites in state, national, and European parliamentary elections between 2002 and 2009. The results show that e-campaigns in all elections adhere in their messages to the media logic. Specifically, they replicate those patterns of offline coverage that have been held accountable for rising political alienation and civic apathy. Moreover, the mediatization of German e-campaigning grows over time.