Framing the Poor: Media Illiteracy, Stereotyping and Contextual Fallacy to Spin the Crisis
CAMRI Research Seminar
Wed, October 22, 14:00-16:00
University of Westminster
Registration is possible at latest until Mon, Oct 20, per e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The title of this talk is of course a play-on-words: the media’s deliberate stereotypical framing of the poorest section of society, many of whom are claimants of one kind or another, as being the internal social ‘other’ - ‘not like us’, but also literally attributing - usually indirectly - substantial blame for the ongoing crisis of capitalism to this same group, since it requires very minimal social entitlements for material survival and does not apparently create value.
The media framing of this ‘common sense’ simplified account of complex social problems and apportioning of blame, depends on thoroughgoing media illiteracy on the part of the readership and/or audience, more or less willfully ignorant of the highly selective presentation of information and the use of contextual fallacy that is cynically at work.
Indeed, the war on what is actually a very significant percentage of the general population that can be seen enacted in policy and legislative form, finds a (post-political) ideological expression in text and image to ‘explain’ the everyday ‘reality’ of one unlikely to be immediately recognizable to those it spins this account for. Such an account individualizes what is a social, societal problem, using the ‘personalization’ of stereotypes and victimology to ‘give a human face’ to the Department for Work and Pension (DWP)’s own very misleading selective use of statistics.
Whilst media manipulation of a passive and inert readership and/or audience has plenty of critics, this talk will contend that a Marxist understanding that also uses aspects of Chomsky’s original propaganda model, provides the best resources available for making sense of the mass media’s disingenuous framing and spin of social and political issues such as this in the contemporary UK.
Christian Garland writes and publishes – broadly speaking – in the tradition of Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School kind, but has interests beyond that, including protest and social movements informed by autonomist Marxism and anarchism. He has taught at the Universities of Edinburgh formerly ECA - Warwick, Bedfordshire, and most recently, at Middlesex.