How does television explain poverty? Taking case materials from the Irish television station Radio Telefis Éireann, this book examines the construction of poverty stories across news, current affairs, soap opera, and telethon programs. In examining these programs, the study combines a series of ethnographic accounts of their production with a critical content analysis of how poverty is portrayed. The book argues that poverty coverage on television is constructed in such as way as to be largely nonthreatening to the status quo. The book deepens the understanding of how television contributes to the maintenance of an unequal society. It also makes the case for the continued relevance of the concept of ideology within the analysis of media and communications. The book examines how television coverage about poverty manages to construct the poor as both deserving and undeserving. It further argues that television coverage of poverty fashions benign and heroic roles of the powerful, thus sustaining unequal relations of power.
University of Luton Press (1998).