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1 Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research and Glasgow Media Unit Bad News for Disabled People: How the newspapers are reporting disability In association with:

2 Contents PAGE 1. Acknowledgements 2 2. Authordetails 3 3. Mainfindings 4 4. Summary 6 Part2 5. Introduction MethodologyandDesign Contentanalysis Audiencereceptionanalysis Contentanalysis:Results Politicaldiscussionandcritiquesofpolicy Changesintheprofileofdisabilitycoverageand sympathetic portrayals Changesintheprofileofrepresentationsofthe undeserving disabilityclaimant Audiencereceptionanalysis Howisdisabilityreportedinthemedia Viewsondisabledpeople Viewsonbenefitsandbenefitclaimants Viewsongovernmentpolicy67 9. Conclusion References 73 Appendix1.Codingschedule 80 Appendix2.Detaileddescriptorsforcodingandanalysis 85 1

3 Acknowledgements ThisresearchwascommissionedbyInclusionLondonandtheirfinancial sponsorshipandadministrativebackingisgratefullyrecognised. Inparticularwewouldliketoacknowledgethehelpandcollaborative supportofannekanewhoprovideduswithveryvaluableandhelpful advicethroughouttheresearchandhadasignificantinputinthe draftingofthefinalreport. Wewouldalsoliketothankthefollowingresearcherswhoworkedinthe GlasgowMediaGroupandwhotirelessly,carefullyandpainstakingly undertookthecontentanalysisofthemedia: StevieDocherty,LouiseGaw,DanielaLatina,ColinMacpherson, HannahMillarandSarahWatson. WearegratefultoAllanSutherlandandJoFerriefortheircontributions tothedatacollection. Wewouldalsoliketothankallthefocusgroupmembersandinterview respondentswhotookpartinthestudy.withouttheirtimeand commitmentwewouldnothavebeenabletoproducethisreport. 2

4 Authordetails EmmaBriantisaresearchfellowintheGlasgowMediaGroup.Shehas recentlycompletedherphd,whichlookedatangloamericanrelations incontemporarywartimepropagandaandinformationoperations NickWatsonisProfessorofDisabilityResearchandDirectorofthe StrathclydeCentreforDisabilityResearchattheUniversityofGlasgow. Hispreviousresearchhasincludedworkondisabledchildrenand disabledchildhoods,disabilityandtechnology,disabilitytheoryand disabilityhistory. GregPhiloisProfessorofCommunicationsandSocialChangeand DirectoroftheGlasgowMediaGroup,UniversityofGlasgow.His previousresearchhascentredonmediacoverageofisrael Palestineand itseffectonaudienceunderstandingoftheconflict,mediapresentations industrialdisputesandtradeunionism,thefalklandswarandnorthern Ireland. InclusionLondonprovidespolicy,campaigningandstrategiccapacity buildingsupporttodeafanddisabledpeople'sorganisations(ddpos). InclusionLondonaimstoensureastrongcollectivevoicethatreflects diversityofdeafanddisabledlondonersandtheirorganisationsand addressesthestrategicissuesthatimpactonddpo'sabilitytosurvive andthrive.www.inclusionlondon.co.uk Contactdetails: InclusionLondon CANMezzanine 49 51EastRoad London N16AH LondonDeafandDisability Organisations CICCompanyregistrationno: ProfessorNickWatson StrathclydeCentreforDisability Research UniversityofGlasgow Glasgow G128RT 3

5 MainFindings InclusionLondoncommissionedtheGlasgowMediaGroupandthe StrathclydeCentreforDisabilityResearchtocarryoutastudytoanalyse changesinthewaythemediaarereportingdisabilityandhowithas impactedonpublicattitudestowardsdisabledpeople.incarryingout thestudytheycomparedandcontrastedmediacoverageofdisabilityin fivepapersin withasimilarperiodin2004 5andranaseriesof focusgroups.thestudyfound: Therehasbeenasignificantincreaseinthereportingofdisability intheprintmediawith713disabilityrelatedarticlesin comparedto1015inacomparableperiodin This increasehasbeenaccompaniedbyashiftinthewaythatdisability isbeingreportedandthereisnowincreasedpoliticisationof mediacoverageofdisabilityin comparedto2004 5; Therehasbeenareductionintheproportionofarticleswhich describedisabledpeopleinsympatheticanddeservingterms,and storiesthatdocumentthe reallife experiencesoflivingasa disabledpersonhavealsodecreased.someimpairmentgroups areparticularlylesslikelytoreceivesympathetictreatment: peoplewithmentalhealthconditionsandother hidden impairmentsweremorelikelytobepresentedas undeserving. Articlesfocusingondisabilitybenefitandfraudincreasedfrom 2.8%in2005/5to6.1%in2010/11.Whenthefocusgroupswere askedtodescribeatypicalstoryinthenewspapersondisability benefitfraudwasthemostpopularthemementioned. Thesearticlesareimpactingonpeople sviewsandperceptionsof disabilityrelatedbenefits.thefocusgroupsallclaimedthatlevels offraudweremuchhigherthantheyareinreality,withsome suggestingthatupto70%ofclaimantswerefraudulent. Participantsjustifiedtheseclaimsbyreferencetoarticlestheyhad readinnewspapers. 4

6 Thisstrengthoffraudasatabloidthemeconflictswiththereality oflevelsofincapacitybenefitfraudandfocusespublicperceptions ofresponsibilityforincapacitybenefitlevelsonclaimantsrather thanproblemsinlackoflabourmarketdemand,economicpolicies ordiscrimination. Therehasbeenanincreaseinthenumberofarticlesdocumenting theclaimed burden thatdisabledpeopleareallegedtoplaceon theeconomy withsomearticlesevenblamingtherecession itselfonincapacitybenefitclaimants; Articlesthatexplorethepoliticalandsocioeconomiccontextof disabilityarerareasarearticlesthatexploretheimpactthatthe proposedcutswillhaveondisabledpeople.therewasadecrease inreferencestodiscriminationagainstdisabledpeopleorother contextualisingissues; Therehasbeenasignificantlyincreaseduseofpejorative languagetodescribedisabledpeople,includingsuggestionsthat lifeonincapacitybenefithadbecomea LifestyleChoice.Theuse oftermssuchas scrounger, cheat and skiver wasfoundin18% oftabloidarticlesin2010/11comparedto12%in2004/5.there were54occurrencesofthesewordsin2004/5comparedto142in 2010/11.Thesechangesreinforcedtheideaofdisabledclaimants as undeserving. Disabledpeoplearefeelingthreatenedbythechangesintheway disabilityisbeingreportedandbytheproposedchangestothe theirbenefitsandtheirbenefitentitlements.thesetwoare combiningandreinforcingeachother. 5

7 Summary InclusionLondoncommissionedtheGlasgowMediaGroupandthe StrathclydeCentreforDisabilityResearchtocarryoutastudytoanalyse changesinthewaythenewsmediaarereportingdisabilityandhowit hasimpactedonpublicattitudestowardsdisabledpeople.thisresearch hadthreemainaims: Toexaminehowthemediaarecoveringdisabilityandto documentchangesinthiscoverage. Toexaminehowthisisimpactingonpublicattitudestodisabled people. Toconsidertheimpactthatanytrendsidentifiedintheresearch mayhaveonthelivesofdisabledpeople:forexample,inaffecting attitudestodisabledpeopleorsupportfororoppositiontocutsin benefitsaccessedbydisabledpeople. Inordertotrackchangesinstyleorcontentinmediacoverageofpolicy changerelatingtodisabilitybenefits,andthushighlightmediaresponses particulartotherecentcuts,asamplecoveragewasdrawnfor comparisonfromtwoperiods: ThesecondtermofTonyBlair s NewLabour Government ThecontemporaryConservative/LiberalDemocratCoalition Government Alargescaledetailedcontentanalysiswasconductedfocussingonfive popularnewspapers:thesun,themirror,theexpress,th and TheGuardian.Thiswoulddetermineifgovernmentattemptsat reconstructingdisabilityasaburdenimpactedonnewspapercoverage ofdisabilityissues.articlesmentioning disabled, disability, disabilities and incapacity wereobtainedfromlexisnexis,forthe followingtimeperiods: October2004toJanuary documents October2010toJanuary documents MarchtoApril documents 6

8 Thiscontentanalysiswassupplementedbyadetailedaudience receptionanalysis.weheldfocusgroupsofbetween6and8peoplein EnglandandinScotlandandthesewererecordedforsubsequent analysis. Findings Increasedcoverageofdisability Ouranalysishasshownthatmediacoverageondisabilityincreased dramaticallybetween2004 5and withover30%morearticles coveringdisabilityandthatthisincreasewasaccompaniedbyachange inthewaythatdisabilitywascovered.whilstdisablisttermssuchas cripple andthepresentationofdisabledpeopleassufferersorvictims decreasedbetweenthetwoperiodstheywerestillpresent,albeitonly TheSunusedtheword cripple inthe period. Thedatafromboththecontentanalysisandtheaudiencereception studiesareattimesconfusingandcontradictory.thereisevidenceto supporttheclaimthattherehasbeenanincreaseincoverageof disabilityasabenefitproblemandofdisabledpeopleasaburdenonthe stateandtherehasbeenanincreaseinthetotalnumberofarticlesin thiscategory.thisshiftisonethatwasrecognizedbymanyofourfocus grouprespondents.whenaskedtodescribeatypicalstoryondisability inthenewspaperstodaybenefitsandbenefitfraudwerebyfarthemost populartopicsmentioned.peoplealsohavewildlymistakenperceptions aboutlevelsoffraud.howeverwhilstgeneraldisapprovalofbenefit cheatswasastrongthemeinthefocusgroupspeoplewerequickto separateoutwhattheyfeltwere deserving disabledpeopleandfrauds. Disabledpeoplewereseenbyallourrespondentsasdeservingofstate support. Thepoliticizationofdisabilitybenefits Ourfindingssuggestthattherehasbeenanincreaseinthepoliticisation ofthemediacoverageofdisability,ashiftwhichreflectsthecoalition Government sagenda.muchofthemediaissupportiveofthechanges thecurrentgovernmentistryingtointroduceandarticlescriticalofthe Government sagendaweremuchlessprevalentin comparedto ,whenthethenLabourGovernmentattemptedtointroduce somesimilarcutsinservicesandbenefits.therewereofcourse 7

9 differencesinthewaythatvariousnewspapersreportedthesechanges, withtheguardianandthemirrorbeingmuchmorelikelytobecritical ofcoalitiongovernmentpoliciesthanthesun,expressormail.again therewasageneralfeelingofsupportforthispolicyshiftinthefocus groups,althoughthesupportwasnotoverwhelmingandsomeconcern wasexpressedabouthowthesechangeswerebeingimplementedand fearsaboutthosewhodeservedsupportbeingdeniedsuchsupport. DisabledPeopleandTriumphoverAdversity Sympathetic, reallife experiencesofdisabilitywerestrongly representedinboththeperiodsthatweexploredalthoughtherewasa significantdropin2010/11comparedto2004/5.thiswasalsothe secondmostcommonthemementionedinthefocusgroups.triumph overadversityandtherepresentationofdisabledpeopleasinspiring,as SuperCripples werealsofoundinbothperiods.againtherewasa largedropinthissortofcoverage.in2004 5,forexample,life experiencestoriesmadeupover15%ofthedailymail scoverageof disabilitycomparedtoonly7.7%ofcoveragein Inthetabloid pressingeneralsuchstoriesfellfrom29%to22%.theseshifts,whilst welcomeontheonehand,mightalsobeareflectiononthedesireof thesenewspaperstoreconstructdisabledpeopleasbenefitfrauds.itis hardtopresentdisabledpeopleasbothinspiringandatthesametime ascheatsandscroungers.thisthemewasalsopresentinmanyofthe focusgroups. Thereductioninstoriesrepresentingdisabledpeopleasvictimsandas suffererswasalsoaccompaniedbyareductioninthenumberofarticles describingdisabledpeopleasbeingingenuineneedofservicesor experiencinginadequateserviceprovision(afallfrom13%to9%). TheDeservingandNon deserving Linkedtothishasbeenamovebacktotherecreationandreentrenchmentoftheideaofthedeservingandnon deservingpoor. Whilsttherewasonlyamarginaldifferenceintheproportionofarticles thatdescribedincapacitybenefitrecipientsas undeserving 15.5%in comparedto15.9%in therewasalargeincreaseinthe actualnumberofsucharticles(127in comparedto81in2004 5).ForexamplewhiletheproportionofExpressarticlesdiscussing claimantsinthiswayfellfromapeakin2004 5of21.4%ofitsarticles (morethananyothertabloid),to15.7%ofitsarticlesinthesameperiod 8

10 of ;theactualnumberofthesearticlesitproducedincreasedby 26%(from31to42articles). Evidencefromthefocusgroupsinthisareaiscomplex.Whilstpeople werequicktoacceptthatfraudulentclaimantswereundeservingthe respondentsallfeltthatthestatehadadutytosupportdisabledpeople. Almostallthosewespoketoalsohaddirectexperienceofdisability eitherthroughaclosefamilymembersorclosefriends,manyofwhom hadtriedtogetbenefitsandhadfailed.oneparticipantforexample talkedabouthowhardithadbeenforhermother togetanybenefits. Theywereallawareofhowdifficultitistoactuallyqualifyforabenefit andwereawareofthelowlevelsofsupportdisabledpeoplereceived. DisabledPeopleasa Burden Theperiodin alsosawmorediscussionofdisabilitybenefitsin termsofbeingaclaimeddrainontheeconomyandaburdenonthe state(anincreaseinthetabloidsfrom22articlesin2004 5to37in ),withsomearticlesevenblamingtherecessionitselfon incapacitybenefitclaimants.thesunheavilyincreasedtheproportionof itsarticlesthatdefinedclaimantsas undeserving from18.8%during ,to26.9%inthesamethreemonthsin producingmore articlesonthisthemethananyothertabloid. Thesocialandpoliticalconsequencesofthecuts Debateofthepoliticalorsocialcontextinwhichdisabledpeoplefind themselvesbecamealmostentirelyabsentfromthetabloidmediaand explanationwasreducedtoindividualresponsibilityandweakened socialvalues.thefactthatthecutsarenotjustaffectingthosemaking fraudulentclaims,butarenegativelyimpactingondisabledpeople s liveswaslargelyignoredasweretheveryrealaffectsthattheproposed changesinbenefitswillhaveondisabledpeople.forexample,therewas anabsenceofcoverageoftheeffectsthatthereductionsinentitlement, benefitpaymentlevelsandtimelimitswillhavethatarebeingimposed evenonthosedefinedas genuine claimants.inarticlesthatattempted tojustifytheproposedchangestothebenefitssystemtherewassome attempttoreassurethepublicthat genuinely disabledpeoplewouldbe unaffected.therewasalargereductioninthenumberofarticlesin whichadominantthemewastheideathatdisabledpeopleare deserving claimants.whilein2004 5TheSunhadusedadominant deserving claimantthemein7.9%ofitsarticles,thisfellin to 9

11 0%.Similarly,TheExpressshowedafallfrom6.2%ofarticles,to1.1%in thecomparableperiodof TheDailyMaildropinthiscategory wasslight(1.4% 0.8%)astheyrarelyincludedthisthemeasdominantin anyperiodanyway.thesefindingscontrastgreatlywithboththe GuardianandTheMirrorbothofwhichcarriedarticlesthatexpressed concernovertheimpacttheproposedchangestodisabilitybenefitswill haveondisabledpeople. DisabledPeopleasCheats Thecontentanalysisalsonotedanincreaseinreferencestoincapacity benefitfraudinallpapers,reinforcingtheideathatdisabledpeopleare undeserving claimants.fraudarticlesincreasedfrom2.8%oftabloid coverageinoctober January2004 5to6.1%inthesameperiodin WhiletheproportionoffraudcoverageinTheExpressdoubled from2.1%to4.2%,thetotalnumberofarticleshadshotupfromsixin October January2004 5,to22articlesinthesameperiodof , morethananyotherpaperproduced.theproportionofsucharticlesin Th increasedfrom0.7%in2004 5,to3.8%inthesameperiodin ,andthenrosesteeplyto9.2%inMarch April.InTheSunfraud storiesalsoincreasedmarkedlyfromjust2%in2004 5to7.1%in Thiswasunderscoredbythelanguage.Outofthe180tabloidarticles acrossbothperiodsin (October JanuaryandMarch April combined)theword cheats wasusedin48articles, fraudster was usedin10articles, con in8articles, fiddle (thesystem)in8articles 1, aswellasmanyotherinventivesynonyms.thisstrengthoffraudasa tabloidthemeconflictswiththerealityoflevelsofincapacitybenefit fraud,whichthedepartmentforworkandpensionestimatesat2.4% forincapacitybenefitandlessthan1%fordisabilitylivingallowance. Disabilityasanequalityissue Articlesondiscriminationagainstdisabledpeopleandtheir marginalisationalsoshowedsignificantchangesbetweenthetwo periods.intheguardiantherewasadropof31.2%inoctober January ,to29.6%inthesameperiodin Acrossthissameperiod theproportionoftabloidarticleswhichmentioneddiscriminationor marginalisationofdisabledpeoplefellfrom19.5%to14.4%,thegreatest falloccurringintheexpress(from22.1%to11.6%). 1 Includingvariationsontheseie. conning / conned, fiddling / fiddled etc 10

12 Differenceswerealsonotedinthewaythatdifferentimpairmentgroups wererepresentedandthosewithaphysicalorsensoryimpairmentwere morelikelytoreceivesympathetictreatmentfromthepressthanother groups.mentalhealthwasmentionedinonly8ofthe25 deserving articleswhichmentionedadisabilityinoctober January2004 5,afigure thatdroppedto2/30inoctober January MentalIllnessesand conditionswhichareotherwise hidden (suchaschronicpain),or socially unsympathetic (suchasstd s,addictionorobesity),weremore likelytobepresentedas undeserving andpeoplewith depression and stress wereoftenportrayedasunworthyofbenefit.inarticlesthat exploredmentalhealthoftentabloidssuchasthedailymail,themirror, andthesunskirtedoverdetailsaboutaclaimant sbackgroundwhich mightprovidecontextandunderstandingofaparticularcase. Referencestolearningdisabilitieswerenotableintheirabsencefrom thisdebate. Disabledpeopleas Undeserving Claimants Twotoolswereidentifiedasfrequentlyusedinframingthenewsstories whichdefinedindividualcasesasthe undeserving claimantand reinforcingstatementsofoutrightcritiqueofthebenefitssystem. UseofPejorativeLanguage Theuseofpejorativetermstodescribedisabledpeople,increasedinall papersbetweenoctober January2004 5andthesameperiodin Itincreasedfrom12%oftabloidarticlesinOctober January to18%oftabloidarticlesfromthesameperiodin Therewere 54occurrencesofsuchwordsin2004/5comparedto142in2010/11.In TheGuardianthecomparablefigurerosefrom2.6%ofarticles,to3.2%. TheMirroralsoincreaseditsuseofpejorativelanguagefrom4.3%to 8.8%betweenthesetwoperiodsbutthegreatestincreasewasfoundin TheExpress,SunandMail.Termsusedincluded;scrounger,handout, workshyandcheats CharacterAttacksonClaimants Attacksonthecharacteroftheclaimantduringboth2004 5and October Januaryperiodssoughttoportraythemaswastefulor indulgent;with badhabits suchassmoking,drinking,sleepingaround orhavingafamilyconsidered toolarge (allactivitiesordinarily consideredamatterofprivateconscience). 11

13 Conclusion Thisreportpresentsastrongbodyofevidencetosuggestthattherehas beenasignificantchangeinthewaythatdisabilityisbeingreportedin muchofthepressintheunitedkingdomtoday.thecontentanalysis clearlydemonstratesthattherebeenalargeincreaseinthenumberof articlesinwhichdisabilityisthekeythemeandthatthishasbeen accompaniedbyasignificantshiftintheemphasisandinthewaythat thearticlesarebeingreported.thesefindingsarealsosupportedbythe audiencereceptionanalysis.thischangeinthefrequency,contentand toneofthearticlesin2010/11whencomparedtoasimilarperiodin 2004/5marksanewapproachtodisability. Thedetaileddriversforthesechangesarehardtoidentifyandcomplex. Threeofthenewspaperswesurveyedarestrongsupportersofthe CoalitionGovernmentandthesepapershaveallexpressedsupportfor thespendingcutsintroducedaspartofthecomprehensivespending ReviewtotackletheBudgetdeficit.Thefactthattheyaremuchmore reluctanttocriticisethecurrentgovernment spoliciesondisability comparedtosimilarattemptsintroducedbythelastlabourgovernment wouldsuggestthattheirapparentsupportfordisabledpeoplewasat thattimecontingent.theywere,itcouldbeargued,moreinterestedin usingdisabledpeopleasameanstoattackthelabourgovernmentthan theywereinactuallysupportingdisabledpeople. Thevitriolicapproachadoptedbyarticlesinsomeofthepaperstoday andthewaytheyhavereporteddisabilityanddisabledpeopleinthe periodfollowingthecomprehensivespendingreviewaddsfurther weighttotheseclaims.muchofthecoverageinthetabloidpressisat bestquestionableandsomeofitisdeeplyoffensive.theincreased focusonbenefitfraudwithoutlandishclaimsthatover70%ofpeopleon disabilitybenefitsarefraudsisanexampleofthistypeofreporting. Theseclaimsaremadeoverwhelminglywithoutevidenceandatno pointarethemediareportingtheverylowlevelsoffraudthatoccurs overallinrelationtothesebenefits.wewouldfurthercitetheuseof pejorativelanguage,thefailuretoexploretheimpactoftheproposed cutsondisabledpeople squalityoflife,thereluctancetocriticise governmentpolicyontheseissuesandthefrequentrepresentationof somedisabledpeopleasundeservingofbenefitsaspotentially contributingtowhatcouldbecomeahighlyinflammatorysituation. 12

14 Whilethereisasyetnodirectevidencetosupporttheclaimthatthese reportsareleadingtothereportedincreasesinhatecrimes,newspapers shouldtakemuchgreatercareinthisarea.theincreasedpejorative coverageofdisabilitymayhavealongtermeffectandfurtherworkwill beneededtomonitorthis. Theimpactsthesechangeshavehadonthewaythatdisabilityis perceivedbythepopulationisdifficulttodetermineprecisely.manyof theparticipantshadverycomplexandoftenconflictingviews.many,for example,believedthattherewasahighleveloffraudbutallparticipants alsohadpersonalknowledgeoffriendsorfamilymemberswhowerein receiptofadisabilitybenefitandalltalkedabouthowhardithadbeen forthemtoobtainthatbenefit.ontheotherhandtheyalsoknew,or claimedtoknow,peoplewhowerecommittingbenefitfraud.allofthe researchparticipantsmadeacleardistinctionbetweenthosewho deservedtoreceivebenefitsandthosewhodidnotandwhiletheywere veryquicktovilifyfraudulentclaimantstheywerealso,inthemain,very supportiveofdisabledpeople.thiscouldbeexpressedas:disabled peoplearenotfraudstersandfraudstersarenotdisabledpeople. Disabledpeoplethemselvesarefeelingtheeffectsofthiscoverageand itisimpactingontheirownfeelingsofsecurityandsafety.therewasa greatdealofconcernamongthedisabledparticipantsabouttheeffects thatupcomingbenefitchangeswillhaveontheirqualityoflife,ontheir abilitytoparticipateandalsoontheiracceptancebynon disabled people. Thelast20yearshaveseenmajorchangesinthewaythatsocietytreats disabledpeople.notonlyisdisabilitynowrecognizedasanequality issuebutitispartofthenewsingleequalityact(2010)andassuchhas equalfootingwithothergroupsfacingdiscriminationongroundssuchas gender,ethnicityandsexualorientation.recentchanges,representing manyyearsofcampaigningbydisabledpeople,haveculminated inarguablysomeofthemostadvancedequalitylegislationintheworld andkeyelementssuchastheequalitydutyplaceveryhighexpectations onpublicsectorbodies.theunconventionontherightsofpeople withdisabilitieshasbeensignedandratified.nolongeraredisabled peopleexpectedtolivetheirlivesininstitutionsasamatterofcourse. Thereis(forthemoment)apresumptionthatdisabledchildrenwillbe educatedinamainstreamschool,whiledirectpaymentsandother 13

15 formsofself directedsupportarenowawellestablishedpartof communitycarepackages.putsimply,disabledpeoplecanexpecttobe includedinthemainstreaminmostaspectsoftheirlivestoahitherto unknowndegree. Thisprogressisnotsetinstone,however.Inparticular,itmustbe stressedthatprogressonlegislationandrightsstandsincontrasttoa relativefailuretotransforminstitutionsandinstitutionalpractices.on theonehand,equalityfordisabledpeople,anideathatwasonceso contentiousandsodubious,isnowpartoftheequalitymainstream;on theotherhand,thedemandsforequalityhaveyettoberealisedin practice.thus,critiquesof,forexample,segregatededucation,exclusion fromwork,housing,denialoffamilylife,oftherighttosexual expression,toformrelationshipsandtobeparents,whichappearedso incendiarynotsolongago,arenowwidelyendorsed.howeverthis changeinattitudeshasbynomeansdoneawaywiththesepractices; whilsttherehasbeenachangeinthewaythatwetalkaboutdisability, disabledpeoplethemselvesstillfacewidespreaddiscriminationintheir daytodaylives.intheirrecentlypublishedtriennialreview,howfairis Britain?,theEqualityandHumanRightsCommissionprovidea substantialbodyofevidencetosupportthisclaimandshowhow, despiteover15yearsofanti discriminationlegislationdisabledpeople arestillconsiderablydisadvantagedwhencomparedtotheir nondisabledpeers. Thetenuousandcontingentnatureoftheprogressexperiencedby disabledpeoplesuggeststhatthesegainscanbeeasilylostor withdrawn.thereisadangerthatmuchofthereportingthatwediscuss inthisreportcouldlaythegroundworkfortheremovalofsomeofthe supportstructuresandprocessesthatarecurrentlyinplace.thisfear wasexpressedopenlyinoneofthefocusgroupsofdisabledpeopleand isonethatthepressshouldtakeseriously.bysimplyreplicatingthe government'spositionondisabilityanddisabilitybenefitwithout checkingeithertheirstatisticsorthebasisonwhichtheclaimismade thepartisanapproachtheyadopthasthedangeroffurtheraddingto theoppressiondisabledpeopleareexperiencing. 14

16 Part2 Introduction Thegeneralelectionin2010andsubsequentformationofthe Conservative/LiberalDemocraticCoalitionGovernmentisprovingto haveaconsiderableimpactondisabledpeople.therehasbeenmuch commentontheunprecedentedscaleofpublicspendingcutstowhich thegovernmentiscommitted(e.g.http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/all-inthis-together). Inparticular,thechangesinwelfarepoliciesthe governmentisintroducingorpreparingtointroducewillhitdisabled peopleharderthananyothergroup.testsonpeoplewhoreceive employmentsupportallowance(esa)carriedoutbyatos(introduced bythepreviousadministrationandcontinuedbythecurrentone)are seekingtoreducethenumbereligibleforthebenefit.theintroduction ofanewuniversalcreditbenefit,thechangeinindexationofuprating benefitsfromthehigherretailpriceindex(rpi)tothelowerconsumer PriceIndex(CPI)togetherwithchangestoentitlementtoDisabilityLiving Allowance(DLA)andarangeofotherbenefitsandservicecutswillall impactadverselyondisabledpeople.demosestimatethatdisabled peoplewilllose 9billioninwelfaresupportinthenextfiveyears(Wood andgrant2010). Notsurprisinglydisabledpeopleandtheirorganisationshaveexpressed considerableconcernabouthowthesechangeswillimpactondisabled people.therecentlypublishedtriennialreviewofequalityinbritain, HowFairisBritain,publishedbytheEqualityandHumanRights Commissionhighlightsthedisadvantageandinequalityexperiencedby disabledpeopleinallaspectsoflife.itisdifficulttoseehowthesecuts inentitlementtobenefitandsupportcandoanythingotherthanfurther disadvantageanalreadydisadvantagedgroup.theseconcernshave beenwelldocumented,forexampleintworeportspublishedbydemos (WoodandGrant2010,2011). Angerhasalsobeendirectedatthewaythatthemediaitselfhas reportedthesecutsandhaschangedthewaythatdisabilityand disabledpeoplearerepresentedanddiscussed.scopeandacoalitionof 15

17 50otherthirdsectororganisationshavesuggestedthatthischangehas playedaroleinincreasinghostilitytowardsdisabledpeople 2. Upuntilnowtherehasonlybeenanecdotalevidencetosupportthe claimthatthemediahavechangedthewaythattheyarereporting disability.theresearchthatthisreportpresentsaimstofillthatvoid. Bycarryingoutacontentanalysisofnewspapercoveragein2004/5with acomparableperiodin2010/11itshowshownewspaperreportinghas changedoverthetwoperiods

18 Methodology&Design Inmeetingtheaboveresearchobjectives,astructuredandpragmatic researchdesignwasdevelopedemployingbothqualitativeand quantitativemethodsandworkingwithinoursettimetableand resources.thisdesignwasflexibleenoughtorespondtoemergent trendsinthedataasneededandincorporatedarangeofmethods includinginterviews,focusgroups,contentanalysisandthecomparative casestudyapproach. ContentAnalysis ScopeoftheResearch&Sample Inordertotrackchangesinstyleorcontentinmediacoverageofpolicy changerelatingtodisabilitybenefits,andthushighlightmediaresponses particulartotherecentcuts,asamplecoveragewasdrawnfor comparisonfromtwoperiods: ThesecondtermofTonyBlair s NewLabour Government ThecontemporaryConservative/LiberalDemocratCoalition Government Alargescaledetailedcontentanalysiswasconductedfocussingonfive popularnewspapers:thesun,themirror,theexpress,th and TheGuardian.Thiswoulddetermineifgovernmentattemptsat reconstructingdisabilityasaburdenimpactedonnewspapercoverage ofdisabilityissues.articlesmentioning disabled, disability, disabilities and incapacity wereobtainedfromlexisnexis,forthe followingtimeperiods: October2004toJanuary documents(oncefiltered) October2010toJanuary documents(oncefiltered) Duplicates,storiesrelatingtoRepublicofIrelandandweekendeditions werefilteredfromthesample.pictureswerenotincludedintheanalysis butregionandeditionofthepaperwerenoted. 17

19 Twocontemporarychangesinpolicywerehighlightedintheearly planningstagesassignificantforafocusedanalysisofrecentmedia coverage: ThereplacementofDisabilityLivingAllowancewithPersonal IndependencePayment ThereplacementofIncapacityBenefitwithEmploymentSupport Allowance. Thereforetheperiodofstudywaslaterextendedtoincludetheperiod whenthesechangesweregoingthrough: MarchtoApril documents(oncefiltered) Therangeofdocumentaryevidenceincludednewsitems,features, opinion,reviews,sport,andletters. Coding Anexperiencedcodingteamofeightindividualswereemployedduring thecontentanalysisstage,supervisedbyprofessorgregphilointhe MediaGroup.Theresearchdesigndrewonexperiencegainedthrough anothersuccessful(departmentofhealth funded)study,intomental healthandthemedia.thepresentresearchbeganwithaprojectspecificbriefinginthemediagroupbriefedmembersofthecoding teamonthespecificaimsoftheprojectandtheirroleand responsibilitieswithinit.areliableandpurpose specificcodingschedule wasdevelopedforandbythecoders(seeappendix1),alongwith detaileddescriptors(seeappendix2).thiswasoverseenbyboth ProfessorPhiloandProfessorWatson,toensurecategorieswere generatedinaccordancewiththespecificaimsoftheresearch.the codingteamworkedmethodicallyaccordingtoagreedprocedure,and drewpracticalinsightsfromearlydatagathered.thesehighlighted emergentthemes,whichwereusedtofurtherinformthedesign,and ultimatelytoenrichlateranalysis.codersworkedcollaboratively, discussingexamplesandcheckingeachothersanalysistoensurea consistentapproach.inadditiontothis,themostexperiencedcoders actedasfinalcheckertomonitorforconsistentoutput. Thecodingschedulecategories(SeeAppendices1&2)weredevisedto identifyreferencesbothto: 18

20 Representationswhichreferenceddisabilityanditsuniquesocial context,andhowthisdiscoursechangedovertime. Politicalissuesraisedinthecoverage. Inordertoassesspotentialdifferencesinthecoverage,whenadisability wasmentionedthiswasnotedin3broadcategories: PhysicalandSensoryImpairments MentalHealth Learningdisabilities Amongotherthings,thiswashopedtorecordanypotentialdifferences innewspaperassessmentsof need,ordifferingportrayalsofthe legitimacyofclaimants(as deserving or undeserving ),thatmightbe attributedtotypesofconditions.allarticleswerecodedaccordingto howprominentathemewasinthearticle,andthesevariableswere measuredona5pointscale(rangingfroma baremention,toa dominanttheme inthearticle).bothimplicitandexplicitreferences werenoted,whentheseappearedintheheadline.specificexamplesof pejorativelanguagereferencingdisabilitybenefitclaimantsdirectlyor indirectlywerealsonotedtoenrichlateranalysis.inordertoidentify themostfrequentlycited voices acrossthebodyofarticles,references attributedtopoliticians(bypoliticalparty),charities,carersanddisabled people,amongotherkeycommentators,wereallrecorded.thecoding periodoccurredbetweenmarchandjune2011and,asmentioned above,theinitialscopeoftheprojectwasextendedtoincludecrucial coveragebetweenmarchandapril2011. Analysis AnalysisbeganinJulyandaresearcherexperiencedindataanalysiswas engagedduringthisstage.spsssoftwarewasusedtoidentifystatistical trendsinthedata. AudienceReceptionAnalysis Wealsocarriedoutanaudiencereceptionstudytodeterminehowthe reportingofdisabilityanddisabledpeoplewaswerebeinginterpreted bythegeneralpublicandhowitwasimpactingontheirperceptionsof 19

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