With the ongoing financial troubles on the continent, Express readers might not have been surprised to learn from their paper of choice this morning that Germans now stood alone among Europeans as the only nation to back the EU:
The story was based upon research conducted by the American polling company the Pew Research Centre.
However anyone who went on to take a closer look at the report that it produced on ‘views of European unity’ would have been struck by the revelation that:
“The Brussels-based institution still maintains majority support in five of the eight European countries surveyed.”
This is bourne out by the table on the very first page of the report, which also notes that the median level of support across the eight countries was 60 per cent:
So what is the Express talking about?
What the Pew study did find is that support for political and economic integration has dwindled across the continent, with the exception of Germany, where a further 2 per cent more people thought the EU was a good thing in 2012 than did in 2009.
And this appears to be the finding that the Express is reporting. Readers that persevered beyond its headline into the body of the article would have seen that it reported several paragraphs in that:
“The only country where enthusiasm for the EU was growing was Germany, which many critics claim is profiting from the debt crisis.”
However there is a problem here.
At no point is the inaccurate suggestion that the EU only enjoys majority support in Germany ever corrected or even refined by the subsequent information given. Support for the EU could be a minority opinion in most countries and could be dwindling at the same time.
Regular Full Fact readers will know that the phenomenon of the headline that is not supported by the article that it tops is not a new one, and we have asked for the Editors’ Code of Practice to be amended to deal specifically with this problem.
This wouldn’t actually help in this case, as the Express (along with its stablemate the Daily Star) is not covered by the Press Complaints Commission or the Editors’ Code. Nevertheless, we will be in touch with the Express to encourage it to correct its misleading headline.