The Media Agenda: The Marginalization and Domestication of Europe

Katrin Voltmer and Christiane Eilders

in Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262955
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734465 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Media Agenda: The Marginalization and Domestication of Europe

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter investigates whether the assumption that the media contribute to the communication deficit of the EU is reflected in the empirical pattern of political coverage. In particular, it explores the extent to which German media take a Europeanized perspective on political affairs and whether or not they promote the politics of European integration. The study is based on a content analysis of the editorials of German national quality newspapers covering the period between 1994 and 1998. The findings show that the media under study devote only a very small portion of their attention to European issues, thus marginalizing Europe to an extent that is not warranted by the significance of the European level of governance. If the media do focus on European issues, they predominantly address them in terms of national politics, which is interpreted as a ‘domestication’ of Europe in public discourse. At the same time, the media unanimously support the idea of European integration. This pattern of communicating Europe reflects the élite consensus on European matters in Germany and may have contributed to the alienation of the general public from European politics.

Keywords: German media; political communication; mass media; political coverage; European integration

Chapter.  10253 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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