Support 110 years of independent journalism.

18 October 2010

Do the media lead the anti-benefits screaming?

The cleverness of photo-manipulation.

By James Macintyre

Among the most interesting things that happen on the news desks of papers are the decisions — often taken quite high up — over which photograph should go with a story. Searches will be made to find downcast pictures of politicians having a bad day — Gordon Brown was a regular recent victim of this — and often a split-second averting of the eyes to some notes can be made to look like an expression of despair from someone about to throw themselves off a bridge (try putting Brown, or John Major, into Google Images for some commonly used results).

So it was interesting to see that the Mail used this picture for a story about disability benefit.

According to my colleague Mehdi Hasan, Iain Dale, during a debate on Radio 5-Live at the weekend, denied that the media led the way when it comes to demonising benefit claimants, claiming instead that anti-benefits feeling came from the public.

I am sure many people are fed up with claimants (though I find the new consensus that Labour simply spent its time handing out benefits to fakes and the undeserving somewhat hard to believe). But looking at this picture, do you agree that the media do not play a leading role in this?

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

I particularly like the bit in brackets after the caption:

Feet up: Claimants will lose their disability benefits as the public spending cuts bite (Posed by model)


Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action