On Sunday, Giorgia Meloni was elected as the Prime Minister of Italy. Meloni, a member of the “Brothers of Italy” political party, became the first woman ever to be elected as Italian Prime Minister. This accomplishment, however, is far from the main focus of U.S. Media. Instead, major media outlets have focused much more on Meloni’s “far-right” politics as Italy’s politics undergo a major shift.
In analyzing coverage of Meloni’s election, the coverage priorities are clear. Two hundred eighty different U.S. Media sources have mentioned Giorgia Meloni in the last week alone. Among the top keyword mentions are “Brothers of Italy,” “neo-fascist roots,” and “Italian Social Movement.” The Brothers of Italy is Meloni’s party that just won the plurality vote. While the party has only been around for ten years, it comes from a questionable past. Born out of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a party created by Mussolini’s last chief of staff, Meloni’s party has drawn some criticism for the neo-fascist connection. In contrast to her roots in the MSI’s youth movement, Meloni has said that “The Italian right has handed fascism over to history.”
Despite this statement, comparisons to Mussolini are still central to the media narrative. One of the top mentions in U.S. Media is “World War II,” with 630 separate mentions in the last week. Looking at articles that mention WWII, one of the main topics being circulated is that Meloni is the first right-wing Prime Minister to be elected since WWII.
While coverage was very even across the board, left-leaning outlets were much more critical. CNN, for example, compared Meloni to Mussolini in 11 separate articles this week. Other outlets such as MSNBC and The Daily Beast focused on comparisons to Mussolini and her “far-right” policies. On the other hand, Fox News, Breitbart, and the Washington times focused more on the fact that she is the first woman Prime Minister of Italy, avoiding the “far-right.” Fox News criticized these comparisons, saying that they “overshadowed” Meloni’s victory.
Giorgia Meloni’s election has shaken up the media landscape. While left-leaning outlets have criticized her idealogy, right-leaning outlets have been more prone to tout her accomplishments. Regardless, the media conversation has focused on Meloni’s political and ideological roots while even making comparisons to Mussolini.
As Meloni begins to shape Italy’s policy priorities, the media is sure to cover the Prime Minister closely. For more on this developing narrative, check back here for automatically updating narrative intelligence briefs: