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  • 1 Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
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In the spring of 2010 Greece officially turned to the EU for help in order to prevent itself from a sovereign default. However, the Treaty on European Union explicitly prohibits any member state to ask for a so-called bailout (i.e., financial assistance) from the other member states or the EU itself. Thus, overnight the Greek financial crisis became a linguistic one as well: how to communicate the notion of financial assistance without implying one? In light of this conundrum, the paper investigates how leading European and American newspapers have communicated the financial assistance by looking at the rather diverse expressions used for the notion of “bailout” that appeared in select articles published on the pivotal dates of the crisis management process. We hypothesized that as the Greek crisis developed, multiple and alternating frames were used in communicating the news on crisis management through the lexical choices the journalists used. The data justified the hypotheses: while the first phase was dominated by the RELIEF frame, this was eventually superseded by the BAILOUT frame by 2 May, the day the deal was finally struck. At the same time, the BUSINESS TRANSACTION frame never appeared as the most significant conceptualisation, implying that journalists were reluctant to view the deal between the two (eventually, three) parties as the result of a rational horizontal relationship between “buyer” and “seller” or between “debtor” and “creditor”.

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