This monograph examines the ways in which discourses on the public sector were articulated in the print media during the 2011 financial crisis in the Irish, UK and European news media. It finds that coverage of the public sector was ideological, portraying public sector workers as overpaid, inefficient, and sheltered from the worst of the crisis. These explanations perpetuated the view that there was a need for austerity through cutbacks to public services and public sector pay. The central thesis is that these representations must be understood as being part of the complex organisational culture of the newsroom. Additional themes explored in the book include but are not limited to:
Aileen Marron is international officer at the Higher Education Authority, University of Limerick.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Ireland and the Financial Crisis
Chapter 3. Framing Analysis Part 1: ‘We can recover if the hard decisions are made’
Chapter 4. Framing Analysis Part 2: ‘Public Sector Scapegoats’
Chapter 5. Making News in The Irish Times and the Irish Independent
Chapter 6. The Political Economy of News-Making
Chapter 7. Conclusion
This carefully researched study provides evidence of an ingrained ideological bias at work in the contemporary Irish press, which simply refuses to countenance alternative diagnoses and prescriptions for major economic crises beyond those dictated by hegemonic neoliberal elites. It paints a picture depressingly familiar from recent analyses of how the financial crash was mediated in the UK, US and elsewhere.
This book is masterful exposition of framing analysis, thoroughly well-grounded theoretically and unimpeachable in its methodological soundness. It is also a stark warning about news balance in Irish society: Marron’s brilliant dissection of news coverage of the public service leaves media claims of balance in tatters. Fake news comes in many different guises: this book should be read by anyone interested in truth.