Increase in negative coverage of disability issues in print media, report finds
There has been a significant increase in the amount of negative reporting of disability issues in the print media, according to a new study by the University of Glasgow.
The report, commissioned by disability equality organisation Inclusion London, compared print media articles from 2004/5 and 2010/11 and found a reduction in the proportion of articles which describe disabled people in sympathetic and deserving terms.
Conversely, the number of articles focusing on disability benefit fraud increased and was the theme typically mentioned by focus groups.
Professor Nick Watson of Strathclyde Centre for Disability at the University of Glasgow, which conducted the study alongside the Universitys Glasgow Media Group, said: This report provides a strong body of evidence to suggest there has been a significant change in the way that disability is being reported in much of the press in the UK today.
Much of the coverage in the tabloid press is at best questionable and some of it is deeply offensive. The increased focus on benefit fraud, with outlandish claims that over 70 per cent of people on disability benefits are frauds, is an example of this type of reporting.
The increased pejorative coverage of disability may have a long-term effect and further work will be need to monitor this.
Anne Kane, Policy Manager at Inclusion London, said: The findings of this research will strike a deep chord with disabled people who have to live with the daily reality of offensive, hate-filled and false media coverage coverage that is becoming more offensive in rhythm with the savage impact of government spending cuts on disabled people.
The researchers at Glasgow University have done a great service by analysing the disturbing way in which bad government policy finds its reflection in pejorative language and an increasing portrayal of disabled people as undeserving.
The disabled people questioned in the study said they felt threatened by the changes in the way disability is being (mis)reported and by the planned cuts to benefits with these two assaults combining and reinforcing each other. This points to the action that needs to be taken: a stop to cuts that threaten more isolation and poverty and a stop to media coverage that stigmatises and breeds fear.
The report entitled Bad News for Disabled People: how newspapers are reporting disability, analysed 2,276 print articles in a variety of tabloid and broadsheet newspapers. The report found:
-- A significant increase in the reporting of disability in the print media with 713 disability related articles in 2004/5 compared to 1015 in 2010/11,
-- A reduction in the proportion of articles which describe people in sympathetic and deserving terms, and stories that document real life experiences of living as a disabled person have also decreased, with people with mental health issues and other hidden impairments more likely to be presented as undeserving,
-- Articles focusing on disability benefit fraud increased from 2.8% in 2004/5 to 6.1%. When the focus groups were asked to describe a typical story in the newspapers, disability fraud was the most popular theme mentioned,
-- Articles are impacting on peoples perceptions of disability related issues. The focus groups all claimed that levels of fraud were much higher than they are in reality, with some suggesting up to 70 per cent of claimants were fraudulent. They justified these claims by reference to article they had read in newspapers,
-- A significant increase in the use of pejorative language to describe disabled people. The use of terms such as scrounger, cheat and skiver was found in 18 per cent of articles in 2010/11 compared to 12 per cent in 2004/5,
-- Disabled people are feeling threatened by the changes in the way disability is being reported and by proposed changes to their benefit entitlements.
Prof Watson added: "In addition to the content analysis we also ran some focus groups to see what people thought about the way that the media is covering disability. When the focus groups were asked to describe a typical story in the newspapers on disability benefit fraud was the most popular theme mentioned. Participants in the focus groups all claimed that levels of fraud were very much higher than they are in reality, with some suggesting that up to 70% of claimants were fraudulent. They justified these claims by reference to articles they had read in newspapers."
The research team involved in the study also included Prof Greg Philo, professor of communications and social change; and Dr Emma Briant, from the Glasgow Media Unit.
A total of 42 people were involved in the focus groups, including two who were disabled, split into five groups. Some disabled people also took part in one-to-one interviews.
Provided by University of Glasgow
- Schools still failing to promote positive attitudes towards disabled people Jun 22, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Introducing experience to the classroom to change perceptions May 04, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Employment gap widens for disabled people Oct 07, 2005 | not rated yet | 0
- Faulty intellectual disability genes linked to older dads at conception Oct 03, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Israeli media increase division between people Apr 15, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke in early childhood are more likely to grow up to physically aggressive and antisocial, regardless of whether they were exposed during pregnancy or their parents have a history ...
Health 2 hours ago | 1 / 5 (1) | 0
Most elite athletes consider doping substances "are effective" in improving performance, while recognising that they constitute cheating, can endanger health and entail the obvious risk of sanction. At the same time, the ...
Health 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country's largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
Health 6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
The warning images Brussels proposes to include on tobacco packages in order to reduce consumption do not make the desired impact on smokers because they only find some of them really unpleasant. So, if the ...
Health 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Ten years after the Iraq war of 2003 a team of scientists based in Mosul, northern Iraq, have detected high levels of uranium contamination in soil samples at three sites in the province of Nineveh which, coupled with dramatically ...
Health 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at USC have found that a class of pharmaceuticals can both prevent and treat Alzheimer's Disease in mice.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Variation in the gene MUC5B among patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was associated with improved survival, according to a study published online by JAMA. The study is being released early online to coincide with i ...
11 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
As many as 35 percent of Mexican young adults may have a genetic predisposition for obesity, said a University of Illinois scientist who conducted a study at the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosί.
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A study of veterans at high risk for developing lung cancer shows that low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can be highly effective in helping clinicians spot tiny lung nodules which, in a small number of patients, may indicate ...
8 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Among patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requiring hospital admission, a 5-day glucocorticoid treatment course was non-inferior (not worse than) to a 14-day course with regard ...
8 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
African-Americans are less likely than whites and women are more likely than men to have had a prior diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) regardless of their current disease severity, according to a new ...
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0