Shaping the Public Perception of Economic Phenomena During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Priority of Goals or Values?
Purpose: The coronavirus pandemic has posed serious challenges to governments almost all over the world. To stop its development authorities have overwhelmingly introduced social distancing and locked down the economy. Apart from implementing measures restoring socio-economic activity, it was equally important how the government informed the society about them. The aim of this work is to determine the factors that impact the way in which the coronavirus pandemic is presented to the society in Poland. Design/Methodology/Approach: The analyses of selected literature and case study method were used to show how government communicated the actions taken in public finance and economy, as well as socio-political life. The uniqueness of the research should be related to the fact that two presidential campaigns were run during the epidemic. Findings: The research results indicate that the issue of the pandemic and the actions taken to combat the crisis it triggered, as well as the attitude towards social distancing, were used in the message addressed to the public with a view to achieving specific political objectives of the authorities. The coronavirus epidemic was presented differently by politicians and public media during each of the two campaigns accompanying the elections for the office of the President of Poland. Prior to the elections scheduled for 10 May 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was presented to the public as a serious threat to health and life which necessitated restrictive adherence to social distancing restrictions. In the second election campaign, those in power sent an optimistic message to society suggesting a victory over coronavirus had been achieved in terms of health and economy. Practical Implications: The paper shows the possibility of shaping the perception of economic phenomena by means of the mass media. Originality/Value: The research shows that topics important for the functioning of the state, such as the rapidly deteriorating condition of public finances or the entry of the economy into recession, were not the main axis of the political dispute during the election campaigns.