Paul Copeland, Nathaniel Copsey, Rethinking Britain and the European Union: Politicians, the Media and Public Opinion Reconsidered

Paul Copeland, Nathaniel Copsey, Rethinking Britain and the European Union: Politicians, the Media and Public Opinion Reconsidered, JCMS

Abstract

This article re-examines the role of the media in the UK debate on EU membership. It argues that the embedding of euroscepticism in the UK stems neither from a single phase in the UK–EU relationship, nor from the agency of the UK press or its proprietors. Rather, it resulted from the long-standing absence of any pro-European faction within the British polity was able to argue for, or defend, the European Union within the UK national debate. In explaining this, we expand on the concept of ‘issue capture’ understood as the ability of a vocal minority to dominate the UK’s political debate about the EU in the absence of genuine opposition to counteract negative claims and arguments. The findings are drawn from analysis of a dataset that codes more than 16,400 UK newspaper articles published between 1974–2013.

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