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Forum Post: STUDY: Media Campaign Coverage Almost Never Addresses Poverty

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 15, 2012, 11:05 a.m. EST by GNAT (150)
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By Jeff Spross on Sep 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

The Census Bureau recently found that the poverty rate stalled at 15 percent in 2011, unchanged from the year before, when analysts had expected an increase. That still means, however, that one in six Americans are living in poverty — a level the country has only briefly reached twice since 1970.

The bad news is that poverty remains virtually invisible in the media, particularly when it comes to campaign coverage, according to a new study from Extra!, the magazine published by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting:

Extra! looked at six months of campaign coverage (1/1/12–6/23/12) by eight prominent news outlets: CBS Evening News, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered, and the print editions of the New York Times, Washington Post and Newsweek. [...]

FAIR’s study found poverty barely registers as a campaign issue. Just 17 of the 10,489 campaign stories studied (0.2 percent) addressed poverty in a substantive way. Moreover, none of the eight outlets included a substantive discussion of poverty in as much as 1 percent of its campaign stories.

Discussions of poverty in campaign coverage were so rare that PBS NewsHour had the highest percentage of its campaign stories addressing poverty—with a single story, 0.8 percent of its total. ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Newsweek ran no campaign stories substantively discussing poverty.

If the search was widened to include non-substantive as well as substantive mentions of the issue, that figure rose to 3 percent. If the search was expanded further to include mentions of “poverty,” “low income,” “homeless,” “welfare” or “food stamps,” it got to 10 percent. Meanwhile, “debt” and “deficit” were mentioned 18 percent of the time.


Official numbers on poverty are much higher than shown in government reports. There is a slew of people who have never filled out a census form, never file taxes, make money at the cost of extreme labor or panhandling, these are the perpetually homeless. How do you track them to get an accurate count?

The income bar for poverty in America for a single mother and two children was set at $18,530 annually. I'm sure you are aware that a single mother that makes $23,000 annually is still in poverty. In 2012 the income retirements for poverty were increased for inflation but this has not been applied to the number you see being thrown around by the media about who lives in poverty today.

My guess, with the adjusted income, adding the perpetually homeless, the rate is probably around 22-25% of Americans living in poverty. Absolutely tragic.



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[-] 3 points by GNAT (150) 10 years ago

You don't discuss economics, you don't discuss the Fed propping up WallSt, you don't discuss the Media, you don't discuss anything of substance. You engage in argumentative behavior and support the left by way of insulting the right, the very partisanship addressed in the About section before it was altered, by request I'm sure. You say you sign petitions but there is no way to disprove that now is there?

But hey, don't bother with the topics around Occupying WallSt, just keep pretending enough to blend in. It's worked so far, why change now.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3400) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

this is what ows is about. good post, once again, i mean for being on message.

the poor were devestated in this recession, yet they are attacked as lazy and greedy.

the rich didn't suffer one bit,but profit from the misery.

who owns all the homes that used to belong to people? the rich, and the bankers.

the stock market has recovered, and businesses are sitting on great piles of wealth and capital, because they are certain the people are too poor to buy their products, becuase they already have all the money, so they have no reason or need to create jobs.

if they create jobs, the people, rather than trying to just get by and survive, might have time to focus on real issues and better themselves.

wake up, america

We appear as Rome before the collapse: Give us games, and spectacles, and bread, as our mighty military attempts to sustain in the nether regions without end. We are Rome. Rome. Rome

[-] 1 points by GNAT (150) 10 years ago

Good call on the Rome bit.

[-] 2 points by gsw (3400) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 10 years ago

and the Romney vs. Obama is a Major spectacle Game.

right vs. left

A continual

drug for the masses.

[-] 1 points by GNAT (150) 10 years ago



[-] 2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

The Greatest Show on Earth....

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

Note to self?

[-] 1 points by GNAT (150) 10 years ago

Just say'n. We can discuss whether male or female genitalia is more worthy of government protection but we can't discuss poverty. It's baffling to say the least.

[-] 1 points by neutral (4) 10 years ago

Like this one

[-] 1 points by GNAT (150) 10 years ago

Yeah, just like this one.