A new article co-authored with Christoph Hönnige, Dominic Nyhuis, Philipp Meyer and Susumu Shikano has been published in Political Research Exchange. In it, we in investigate the visibility of British MPs in newspaper reporting on Brexit between July 2017 and March 2019. You can find the abstract below:
Dominating the debate: visibility bias and mentions of British MPs in newspaper reporting on Brexit
Brexit has been the most important issue in British politics in recent years. Whereas extra-parliamentary actors dominated the run-up to the 2016 referendum, the issue moved back to Parliament after the vote. This paper analyses newspaper reporting on Brexit in major British outlets during the post-referendum phase from July 2017 to March 2019. We study the visibility of Members of Parliament to assess whether the debate was balanced between parties and individual MPs relative to their vote and seat share. We conduct an automated text analysis of 58,247 online and offline newspaper articles covering the ideological spectrum from left to right, and from pro-Brexit to anti-Brexit. Our main findings are: (1) Conservative politicians dominated the debate, and (2) organized pro-Brexit MP pressure groups such as ‘Leave Means Leave’ were disproportionally more visible. This means that reporting was biased towards Conservative MPs and within the Conservative Party towards supporters of a hard Brexit. These findings are remarkably stable across different types of newspapers. The results challenge previous analyses that found a higher degree of balance in reporting but corroborate recent studies on the tonality of Brexit reporting that found a pro-Brexit bias.
The book examines the use of presidential powers in Central and East Europe between 1990 and 2010, focusing on presidential vetoes and the formation of governments. Based on original quantitative data and unique insights into presidential politics gathered through a large number of elite interviews, it provides one of the first comprehensive comparative studies of presidential activism and veto power in Europe.
“Despite the prominence of presidential powers in academic debates, until now only few scholars have tried to analyse and explain how presidential actually use them. My study attempts to fill this gap in the literature and add to our understanding of presidential politics in parliamentary and semi-presidential systems.”
The book has already received praise from established scholars. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Professor of Comparative Politics at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, highlights the originality and scientific rigour of the study: “The book is an inspiration for scholars of comparative government. It has set a new approach of excellence for those seeking to understand presidential activism in democracies across the globe.”
The book is available as hardback and ebook – you can download a flyer here. I would of course also be grateful if you would recommend it to your library. Last, you can watch a short book trailer summarising the book’s key features below.
Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration). The central criterion for this prize is that, with suitable amendments, the thesis would make an outstanding book. The prize comes with a cash reward of €1,000 and is thus one of the most highly endowed dissertation prizes worldwide.
The prize committee highlighted that “the thesis makes an important contribution to studies of presidential activism. It suggests an innovative research approach to explain this activism and, moreover, it is elegantly constructed and the dissertation is a pleasure to read.”
1. Presidents and legislation: Policymaking consequences of presidential veto power
The presidents’ legislative veto has traditionally attracted great scholarly attention and scholars have been able to identify common predictors of its use across political systems. This research now provides the basis for a shift of scholarly focus from explaining general patterns of presidential veto use to more bill-specific theoretical and statistical models of presidential involvement in the legislative process. This panel invites submissions that push the boundaries of current research on presidential vetoes and presidents’ involvement in legislation (e.g. through judicial review requests or legislative initiatives) irrespective of methodological (quantitative/qualitative) or theoretical approach. Both case studies of individual countries and/or specific mechanisms as well as comparative research and theoretical papers are welcome. Full call for papers under this link.
2. The role of presidents in the recent EU crises
Throughout the recent European crises, presidents have emerged as exceedingly vocal actors in a number of countries where they normally do not play a leading executive role. Starting with the Eurozone crisis in 2008 and the subsequent austerity policies, presidential action has been provoked by a number of international factors. The aim of the Panel is to analyse the context and consequences of these interpellations and interventions in which presidents – despite often limited in formal prerogatives – have gone beyond established roles and constitutional practice in a bid to influence the management of European crises at national and international level. This panel welcomes contributions that look at cases individually or comparatively and embed their analyses in the wider literature on political leadership, agenda-setting and European Union studies. Full call for papers under this link.
Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration). The central criterion for this prize is that, with suitable amendments, the thesis would make an outstanding book, addressing central themes in the relevant subfield(s) of the discipline. The prize comes with a cash reward of €1,000 and is thus one of the most highly endowed dissertation prizes worldwide.
The prize committee highlighted that the thesis makes an important contribution to studies of presidential activism. It suggests an innovative research approach to explain this activism and, moreover, it is elegantly constructed and the dissertation is a pleasure to read.