Cristina Marconi, an Italian journalist and Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, showed in her analysis that all newspapers studied were, “proven to be biased by national interest.” Marconi found one exception in her research, the Financial Times, which she attributed to a “readership [which] is mainly international and has financial markets as a focus.”
Marconi’s data shows that unbiased viewpoints are absent in coverage and that the media is incapable of properly covering the events in Brussels. According to Marconi, the Greek crisis has become another example of the press failing to ask tough questions concerning the behavior of EU institutions. Marconi explains that, “due to the divide between Eurosceptics and Europhiles, there is a communication deficit of the EU institutions and a lack of clarity of EU functioning, [which] gives leeway to the more destructive fringes of the Eurosceptic side.” The problem with EU communication, according to Marconi, “is that it must communicate a compromise. And a compromise, by definition, does not belong to anybody.”
Perhaps the real problem is the EU’s insistence on investing in self-referential public relations campaigns, rather than generously supporting journalism education at European universities or at midcareer training facilities like the European Journalism Center in Maastricht. Such efforts might help to create a new class of knowledgeable and critically loyal journalists adequately prepared to become the EU’s future sparring partners.
*An earlier version of this posting was published in Schweizer Journalist Nr. 4+5/2012
Cristina Marconi: Does the Watchdog Bark? The European Union, the Greek Debt Crisis and the Press, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford, 2011