How US newspapers view the UK's NHS: a study in international lesson-drawing

Sean Tunney, Jane Thomas, Adam Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic is a highly charged political and economic subject. This work considers US media coverage of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), an under-researched area. We assess the framing of the NHS in editorials, opinion and feature articles during the time of the Obama administration to show how media can perform the role of lesson-drawing, a theory adopted from public policy research. The study also applies the notion of journalistic habitus in this context. Using these ideas, we address a hypothesis which holds that US coverage is framed around the flaws of the UK’s NHS. The paper considers how intermedia editorial and news values operate, with commentators drawing a range of negative lessons in both the Democrat and Republican-supporting press. We find that the NHS was often posited as a flawed international variant of the single-payer model, where newspapers employed an ahistoric explanation of failure and decline.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory and Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • US Newspapers
  • NHS
  • Lesson-drawing
  • Health Journalism
  • Editorials
  • Opinion
  • Health journalism
  • US newspapers

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