Menaces the EU will have to tackle – that seems to be the Bulgarian media motto in March. By far the most terrifying is the coronavirus threat, of course, something that not many would have said when March started and Europe was trying to cope with a different issue: the migrants flow from the Middle East through Turkey to the heart of Western Europe.
Naturally for his position, the Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, said that “the European Union and the public opinion do not understand the situation in Turkey, which already houses more that 4 million refugees” and was quoted by focus-news.net. A media outlet that also cited Erdogan with the following statement: “The EU has failed to comply with its part in the migrant agreement and continues to apply a double standard to this day”.
According to pogled.info, the situation may be very complicated for the EU, but it is the US that triggered the mechanism: professor Ivo Hristov gave an interview that reads as follows: “America wants to bring things to a head-on collision between Turkey and Syria”.
The same pogled.info also quoted George Soros (pretty much demonizing the US billionaire) which allegedly said that “we should help Turkey occupy Syria and fight Russia because of Putin’s war crimes and Europe should stand behind Erdogan”.
The narrative was completed with the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad’s statement which reads, in an interview for the Russian news agency RIA Novosti: “First we will deal with the Turks, then the Americans will follow”. Al Assad also warned Washington with “the Iraqui scenario” unless the US understand it does not need to remain in the Eastern part of the country.
A couple of days later, pogled.info broadcasted a video allegedly showing the Syrian army expelling an US military convoy, everything under the “Get out of here” headline.
Coronavirus, the final assault on the US
According to some of the Bulgarian media, the already “traditional” China – US trade war has now turned to a pandemic confrontation based on the handling of the coronavirus rapid spreading.
As the Chinese “People’s Daily” put it, “the US is not ready to fight the coronavirus, they don’t even know if they have masks”. How do we know what China’s “People’s Daily” published on the matter? Pogled.info told us and added: could the US administration handle a pandemic war?
On a neutral note, 24chasa.bg mentioned the France Presse report according to which “The US may have brought the coronavirus in Wuhan. China’s ambassador to Washington has been summoned to the US State Department for spreading a conspiracy theory about the new coronavirus”.
Not so neutral in tone, duma.bg prefers to re-publish some paragraphs from the Chinese newspaper “Global times” which has a headline that reads “China links the coronavirus to a US military laboratory” and summarizes an article wondering if there is a coincidence between the US laboratory shut down date and the outbreak of COVID-19.
The China – US war narrative gets back once pogled.info decided to quote an analysis by the Washington Post in its own terms: the economic competition between the two huge world powers is seen by China as a means of running the US over.
But pogled.info is versatile enough to cite Russian media when necessary. And this seems to be the case when a Russian media outlet such as Vzglyad.ru, in regard to the fierce competition for finding a vaccine, says that “the coronavirus will make China victorious over the US”.
Which, though, may be too little for focus-news.net, a media outlet that dreams of a real war and not any war, but WWIII. A war that the US is likely to lose.
Worries for the Euro-zone
But about the Euro-zone fate in times of pandemic crisis? Economist and former Minister of Finance Peter Chobanov proved to be rather optimistic in connection to his own country, based on what he said in an interview: “It is now certain there will be a recession in the Eurozone. There is likely to be a crisis, but it is uncertain when it will reach Bulgaria. I believe that the Bulgarian economy and the financial system show that we can withstand and not come to a severe manifestation of this crisis.”
The head of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, though, was more nuanced and predicted that “there will be a crisis like the 2008 one unless the EU doesn’t take urgent action against COVID-19”.
According to the media outlet New Europe, based on a European Commission report concerning the EU econonomy, “the Union will shrink by up to 2,5% in 2020 due to the coronavirus”.
Industry and farmers in the EU also warned that measures taken by some countries in the European Union (mainly shutting down borders) with other member states responding to the first measures in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus epidemic are disrupting food supplies.
In March, the authors of this report examined 15 Bulgarian media outlets, the most relevant in terms of readership.
Most of the articles (92) were provided by pogled.info, for the seventh month in a row.
Focus-news.net is ranked second (39 articles), also for the seventh month in a row.
On the third place – duma.bg (12 articles).
98 of the collected articles could be classified as “neutral”. 17 of those are news, the other 81 – analyses.
78 articles are labeled “biased” (9 of them are news, 69 are analyses).
* The authors of this analysis/study divided the media articles into two categories (news and analysis), each classified as biased or neutral. A geographical criterion was also used to link the media articles to the EU and the US. According to this study, a piece of news is nothing more but a short article covering a fact or a statement whereas an “analysis” may be a column, an investigative piece or any other type of article that is based on several facts and statements that are premises for the conclusion that the author of the article wishes to make public. The neutral characteristic is attributed to those news and analyses that use actual quotes (and not made up or out of context ones), rely on fact checking and logical syllogisms, provide side relevant data (context) in order for the public to get the bigger picture. News and analyses are labelled as biased when, on the contrary, the journalist’s work is not compliant with all of the above: quotes are partial and/or manipulated/manipulative, there’s no vetting process, neutral context is not added (and when there’s some context provided, facts are selected to match the conclusion – which, in this sort of cases, is pre-set – and not the other way round).
Based on this report: