How Print Media’s Social Security Coverage Helps Lobby For Cuts



Media coverage of Social Security finances in print media overwhelmingly favors the publication of raw numbers devoid of relevant context, a trend that reflects pressure from cable and media coverage to reduce the cost of the program rather than reinforce the benefits. for beneficiaries.

A Media affairs analysis reveals that three main sources of printing –The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post – are more likely to report figures on social security income, expenditure and funding gaps in terms of raw figures without relevant context, such as figures from previous years. Fifty-nine percent of total Social Security finance mentions throughout the first half of 2013 were based strictly on raw numbers:

According to economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research Dean Baker, the overreliance on reporting economic numbers in raw numbers alone serves To confuse and deceive readers:

It is understandable that people who want to confuse the budget – for example to convince people that all their tax money went to food stamps – would support the current method of budget presentation. It is impossible to understand why people who want an informed public would not push to change this archaic and absurd practice.

The print media‘s reliance on publishing wacky, out-of-context social security figures coincides with unbalanced broadcast and cable news coverage of the program. One earlier Media affairs The analysis found that the nightly TV news segments on social security were more than three times more likely to promote the need to reduce the cost of the program than the need to enhance the benefits to beneficiaries:


The failure of the media to properly report the figures on Social Security finances and provide a balanced debate flies in the face of what Americans think of the program. A January 2013 National Academy of Social Insurance investigation found that respondents overwhelmingly support increases in income over cuts in benefits.

In addition, media reports on social security obscure the fact that the proposals for reinforcement and program expansion exist, and a number of groups are to push for reforms that would help beneficiaries.


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