Ybeltje who?

Last Monday, the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf published a big interview with the Dutch former member of parliament Ybeltje Berckmoes. Headline: ‘Failed MP rants at Liberal Party’. Berckmoes wrote a book on her time in parliament, in which she opens up about some striking practices of the Liberal Party’s fraction: drunk MP’s and MP’s killing working time with watching Netflix.

In framing this news, different frames were getting combined, in what Chong (2007) considers to be a ‘mix of considerations’. The frame of the Liberal Party (linked to stories of corruption and power abuse before) as being a party that has issues with use of power, is combined with Berckmoes as being a failed MP, thus being susceptible to power abuse by mighty Party members.

More interesting however is that the framing of Berckmoes as a failed and unknown MP (chairman of the Liberal Party Halbe Zijlstra: ‘Ybeltje who?’) has different reasons. According to Scheufele (2000), there are five powers at work in framing a news event. In my opinion, these five powers are not enough to declare the curious framing of Berckmoes as ‘silly woman Ybeltje’, since they don’t take into account the framing that Berckmoes herself causes (although she is not responsible for all of them): being dressed in a cute little dresses on the cover of her book, having a cute little name and a strong accent and talking about the chickens in her backyard in another interview concerning the issue.

The question is then: is Berckmoes aware of her contribution to the framing of her person and if she is aware of it, why does she present herself like this? It’s fascinating to wonder why, concerning the fact that the blames she makes about the Liberal Party are far from innocent.


Chong, D., & Druckman, J.N. Framing Theory. Annual Review of Policitcal Science 10 (2007) 103-126.

Scheufele, D.A. Agenda-Setting, Priming, and Framing Revisited: Another Look at Cognitive Effects of Political Communication, Mass Communication and Society 3 (2000) 297-316.

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