Shaming the cheats or merely indiscreet?: does the language used by the press when reporting instances of benefit fraud contribute to welfare benefit stigma in society?

Bell, Alison (2015) Shaming the cheats or merely indiscreet?: does the language used by the press when reporting instances of benefit fraud contribute to welfare benefit stigma in society? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (729kB)

    Abstract

    The aim of this research was to examine the way articles concerning instances of benefit fraud are reported in the media and in particular the press. I have looked at the idiom used by varying ends of the media from the tabloids to the broadsheets and noted differences between the languages adopted by each newspaper when reporting on instances of welfare benefit fraud. I have limited my research to seven different national newspapers, consisting of three tabloid newspapers and four broadsheets. I researched articles printed in these newspapers during the same two year period to give a fair and balanced representational analysis upon which to draw conclusions. In particular I concentrated the study around the question - are the national newspapers using derogatory language when reporting on cases involving benefit fraud in order to shame those convicted or are they merely being reckless and sensationalist in order to increase their circulation and boost their revenue?
    The results of this research showed that not only was there indeed a difference in both the wording and reporting of benefit fraud stories between the tabloids and the broadsheets but in addition the tabloids were far more likely to print articles about, and report cases of benefit fraud. I then considered how these press reports and stories when assimilated with other research conducted into the areas of stigma attached to welfare benefits could potentially have a detrimental effect to those in society who need to claim welfare benefits. In conclusion I would say that from the evidence obtained researching this report it would seem that the disproportionate amount of articles concerning benefit fraud utilising negative words or phrases, whilst not contributing directly to the social stigmas attached to claiming welfare benefits, does go some way to perpetuating the stereotypes associated with benefit claimants.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 12:32
    Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 12:32
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/17497

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...