Economic Inequality in German Quality Press : Framing Concerns About Inequality and Redistribution

The article analyzes the German public debate on economic inequality, as represented in two series on inequality in the business and finance sections of the two leading national quality newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). In a qualitative content analysis of 62 newspaper articles published in 2016, it assesses (1) the specific focus of articles relating to inequality, (2) the extent to which they consider economic inequality to be a relevant problem, (3) the extent to which they describe redistributive policy as necessary, and (4) the manner in which they discuss conceptual ambiguities and data problems. As an overarching result, the analysis identifies diverging patterns of framing, showing that evaluations of concerns about economic inequality and redistributive policies crucially depend on the thematic context. The analysis also finds that FAZ is less affirmative of concerns about inequality and more often opposed to redistributive policy than is SZ.


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