Media coverage of governmental intervention during the global recession

Between usefulness and legitimacy: Media coverage of governmental intervention during the financial crisis and selected effects

From The International Journal of Press/Politics

This article examines how during the global recession, economic news has served as a dominant source of information for the public and as an influential factor in legitimating economic policy. As both major financial institutions and crucial industries worldwide were affected by the global financial crisis, most western and Asian governments intervened to stabilize their national economies. The effectiveness and legitimacy of this intervention is most relevant in times when economic growth is weak or negative. This study analyses how the media in Germany treated governmental attempts to stabilize the economy. It draws on results from content analysis of television news broadcasts and conducted an online experiment to investigate possible effects of the news coverage. It suggests that In cyclic economic developments, recessions come and go. A comprehensive look at the processes of media coverage during recessions will continuously help to understand public opinion development in these economically and politically sensitive periods.


Abstract

We argue that during the financial crisis, economic news served as a dominant source of information for the public and as an influential factor in legitimating economic policy. We analyze (1) how German news broadcasts treated governmental intervention during the crisis and (2) selected effects on public opinion. Drawing on results from a content analysis of television news broadcasts (n = 980), we show that governmental intervention was covered substantially, focusing on fiscal measures. To investigate possible effects of the news coverage, we conducted an online experiment with subjects differing in their degree of involvement with the consequences of the crisis (n= 293). A news article treating governmental debt guarantees within a supportive frame induced subjects to approve of governmental intervention, as contrasted with an adverse version of the article. However, the effects of the media coverage were partially moderated by subjects’ involvement.

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Article details
Quiring, O., & Weber, M. (2012). Between Usefulness and Legitimacy: Media Coverage of Governmental Intervention during the Financial Crisis and Selected Effects The International Journal of Press/Politics DOI: 10.1177/1940161212442957

     
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