Politicising the Pandemic, Blame Attribution during the COVID Crisis
European countries have taken vastly different approaches toward COVID-19, with varying success. Facing the social and economic fallout from the crisis, government and opposition parties have blamed a range of targets: political competitors, scientific experts, EU institutions and other countries (for example, China). We aim to understand changing patterns of blame attribution across political actors and countries. To uncover the central targets and the degree to which they have been politicised in debates on COVID-19, we analyse social media content produced by political parties and citizens in eight European countries since January 2020. We rely on machine learning classifiers and human coders to identify targets and the frames used to attribute blame.