Media Disability

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In the 21st century, the media is unavoidable and cannot be isolated from most Americans’ lives. Exposure to the media has consequences that must be evaluated because it influences the nation at large. For the purposes of this research paper, the term “media” refers to both traditional media (including television, radio, and magazines) and social media (including digital platforms that serve as outlets for information and communication). The term “public behavior” refers not only to how people act in physical public spaces, but also actions on the Internet. Lastly, the definition of identity, as adopted by Sabrina Worsham, professor in the Speech Communication department at Imperial Valley College, will be accepted as a social construct that…show more content…
In “The Role of the Media in the Construction of Public Belief and Social Change,” Catherine Happer and Greg Philo, members of the Glasgow University Media Group, investigated how the media’s coverage of disabilities has affected public policy. They found that in recent years, the amount of coverage on disabilities has only experienced a small increase. Instead of the shift in exposure amount, it was the “shift in the way that disabilit[ies were] being reported” that has exerted the most influence (Happer and Philo). Reports on disabilities focused more on how people fake disabilities in order to reap the benefits of receiving aid, thereby increasing fraud. According to Happer and Philo, the proportion of articles that sympathized with disabled people decreased significantly, and instead became more politicized. In a YouGov poll from 2010, researchers found that “more than two-thirds of the population supported more stringent testing of people claiming disability living allowance” (Happer and Philo). The public believed that fraud and faking disabilities was becoming increasingly prevalent. Because governments need electoral support, public voice “certainly facilitated” adjustments to the welfare system (Happer and Philo). The media’s negative coverage of disabilities has angered the public, as well as made disabled people less sympathized for. In this…show more content…
Labor movements’ focus on “collective bargaining” was successful because they “target[ted] the state for policies” (Amenta et. al). During the Civil Rights Movement, the EEOC was created to provide “additional resources and legitimation for the movement,” and the implications of this is that it gave workers a voice today to “demand state regulations on industries” (Amenta et. al). This group of researchers analyzed and compared historical evidence and found that 50 out of 54 studies had “at least one positive relationship between” successful outcomes and a “movement measure” (Amenta et. al). A movement measure refers to details such as “the number of protest events, membership size, and organizational density” (Amenta et. al). The researchers concluded that larger movements had more impact in policymaking than smaller movements, with only 12.5% of the popular movements having “weak or no influence” (Amenta et. al). This evidence suggests that public opinion, coupled with social movements and groups, can influence policymaking to a large extent in the United

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