At a lecture at City University yesterday, media commentator Roy Greenslade blamed Britain’s press for the British public’s continuing negative attitude towards Europe.
He pointed out that the papers rarely covered the goings on of the EU and that when the EU did hit the headlines it was often portrayed in a negative light.
According to Greenslade there are two competing narratives advanced by Euroskeptic Fleet Street: Underlying most news stories is either the assumption that there is a Franco- German conspiracy to run the EU together or the assumption that the EU is a sham because individual nations are constantly at each other’s throats.
Certainly the big EU story of the moment is the Czech President’s call for an EU summit to prevent French “protectionist” measures. The move came after Sarkozy announced a €6.5bn rescue package for French carmakers and said that they should consider relocating their plants in the Czech Republic back to France.
The difference in the coverage of the events by the French and British media is really interesting and seems to offer a good example of Greenslade’s thesis. While the Brits tended to focus on Czech- French tensions (see this article in the BBC for one example), the French looked at how the European Commission was investigating the matter first, and Czech accusations only second (see this article in L’Express).
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this one event. What do you think? Is the British media’s EU coverage too negative? Is the French media’s coverage any better?