The Media 's Coverage On Poverty, Government Policies, And The Public 's Perceptions Of The Poor

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Poverty is a social issue that has negative consequences for individuals and society as a whole, so it is a greatly covered topic in the media. The way that the poor are represented in these outlets is important as it can affect government policies, and the public’s perceptions of poverty. In this paper I examine the relationship between the media’s coverage on poverty, government policies, and the public’s perceptions of the poor. I have concluded that Americans’ views on poverty have shifted from structural explanations of poverty to more individualistic one views. I reached this conclusion by examining trends in government policies enacted since the 1960’s, the way that diverse news outlets reported on them, and Americans’ impression…show more content…
This came as a result of a greater government spending on poverty assistance. It is important to point out that during this time period, the media also portrayed the poor as the people who lacked education and skill, who had bad health, poor housing, and high levels of mental distress (Rose & Baumgartner 2013). The media and the government during the 1960’s, attributed variations to structures such as the labor market and educational institutions, as well as other factors to being major contributors to poverty. Therefore, there is clearly a relationship between the government’s and the public’s call for a comprehensive government assistance program, and the way that the media depicted the struggles of the poor during these years. Yet, these positive and supportive stances on poverty did not last long, and by the late 1960’s and in the beginning of the 1970’s, this viewpoint started transforming into a more individualistic outlook. During this time period, Americans began to strongly emphasized individualistic values, holding the poor primarily responsible for their plight. This change in opinion caused the poor to get separated into two spheres: deserving and undeserving. The deserving poor were characterized by those who are not expected to work due to factors such as their age, sex, or family status. For example, the elderly or children would
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