"Not a Political Virus": Manufacturing Consent by Czech Public Service Media in the Pandemic
Masaryk University, Czech Republic
ABSTRACT: The article presents an analysis of the news broadcast on Czech public television during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Based on the concept of post-politics, the analysis illustrates how Czech Television created consensus, naturalized the measures adopted by the government, and transformed a potentially political space into one that privileged instrumental and technical solutions. The author argues that the later emergence of protest movements in Czechia may also be related to the first wave of the pandemic being presented in a consensual, post-political form in public service media. This activity prevented society from recognizing the socially unequal impact of the pandemic and the measures aimed at reducing its impact. Dealing with the question of how to represent a world that went through a rapid change, because of a pandemic, the article ends with a plea for agonistic media pluralism.