Keywords: popularization, economic crisis, Berlusconi government, television.
The article discusses the political use made of popularization by means of
a case study on the political communication of the economic crisis on television during
the fourth Berlusconi government (2008 -2011). The analysis centres on three main issues.
Firstly, the article documents the amount of coverage devoted to the crisis by the Rai and Mediaset news bulletins. Secondly, it focuses on the ways in which the crisis
was discussed on the public and private television networks. Thirdly, it reconstructs and
analyses the strategies adopted by Prime Minister Berlusconi to handle the economic
emergency from the point of view of communication. The analysis conducted advances
the hypothesis that recourse to popularization is not always and only a resource for
the political leadership, suggesting that crisis situations may instead make a distancetaking
strategy more attractive.