Christiane Grill, Hajo G. Boomgaarden
A Network Perspective on Mediated Europeanized Public Spheres: Assessing the Degree of Europeanized Media Coverage in Light of the 2014 European Parliament Election

European Journal of Communication, 2017: 32, issue 6, pp. 568–582
ISSN: 0267-3231 (print); 1460-3705 (online)

The European Union has become an active political player in the political realm, raising the question about the European Union’s linkages with all aspects of political life reflected in national Europeanized public spheres. This study offers empirical evidence on the extent to which mass media support, challenge or even ignore political representatives in European Union affairs, and thus legitimize, respectively delegitimize European Union governance. The analysis is based on large-scale content analyses of print, TV and online news gathered before and after the 2014 European Parliament election in Austria (N = 6432). Semantic networks show that national media focus on the European Union’s legislative body, the implications of the European Union’s exclusive competences on the nation state and on well-established European Union member countries. In doing so, national Europeanized public spheres constituted by the media legitimize the European Union’s governance in these areas while other aspects of European integration are ignored.