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Even Cox murder did not change the overall negative media frame on EU
Coverage of the EU, January-June 2016 in BBC news and Financial Times
Zurich, June 24, 2016. As The Guardian, Newsweek, and Politico had alerted their readers already weeks ago: The Brexit vote was less a referendum and more of a reflex on how opinion-leading media have framed Brussels and Strasbourg for a long time. “Already years ago we have warned Prime Minister David Cameron not to go for a referendum when opinion-leading media present the Continent as a quantité négligeable”, Roland Schatz refers to the long-term media impact analysis of the Media Tenor International Institute. “Nobody wins a referendum against an opposing media narrative – not in the U.K., not in Switzerland, and not in the U.S.”
Even the murder of Jo Cox did not change the overall news selection in a way that could create a last-minute swing: “The reporting about of the murder led to a more balanced coverage, but this was not sufficient to compensate for years of negativity”, Schatz explains the most recent results.
Who is to blame? Both, the BBC as well as the FT never provided a journalistic picture of Europe, the EU or the European Parliament: Negative aspects were presented in a way as if they were more representative of the overall development on the Continent than the neutral or positive results achieved for Europe and the U.K. At the same time nobody in Brussels or the other European capitals should be under the impression that their media report differently and more friendly about the European Commission and Parliament.
For this report Media Tenor International has analyzed all 100,749 reports about protagonists in BBC One Ten o‘clock news, BBC Two Newsnight and Financial Times. All stories have been examined by human coders. Inter-coder reliability averaged 88% in the 1st quarter of 2016.