Title

Pre- and Post-Welfare Reform Media Portrayals of Poverty in the United States: The Continuing Importance of Race and Ethnicity

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2015

Keywords

poverty, media coverag, United States, race, ethnicity, media, political communications, welfare reform, social policy, African Americans, Hispanics

Abstract

This article analyzes racial and ethnic patterns in media coverage of poverty in the United States, with a particular focus on depictions of African Americans and Hispanics. A content analysis of photos accompanying poverty‐related stories published in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report from 1992 to 2010 shows that while Hispanics are underrepresented in media portrayals of the poor, African Americans are overrepresented, especially alongside stories on welfare, in times of economic growth and low unemployment, and in coverage unsympathetic to the poor more generally. I conclude that media coverage of poverty is unrepresentative in a manner consistent with stereotypes concerning African Americans and Hispanics, likely contributing to the endurance of such stereotypes and explaining the fact that welfare is as unpopular after welfare reform as it was prior to reform.

Department

Political Science

Volume

43

Issue

1

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