Open Access

Is COVID-19 on the Covers of Socio-Political Magazines an Example of Media Polarisation? Case Study from Poland


The main purpose of this paper was to explore the media image of the COVID-19 pandemic through the perspective of Polish media polarisation. In order to achieve this, a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the content of covers from 10 socio-political magazines, representing different ideological inclinations [left-wing, liberal, conservative, right-wing and Catholic] was conducted between January and June 2020. The study focused not only on the scale to which the coronavirus appeared on the covers, but also on the textual and visual representation of it. Additionally, the contexts in which COVID-19 appeared were analysed. As it turned out, apart from the medical context, the pandemic was mostly presented through political, social, economic and religious perspectives, of which the first was the most visibly connected with polarising media content, indicating clear links between the ideological bias of the magazines and the ways they described reality.