The purpose of this assignment is to have you focus on the underlying ideological perspectives that the media uses to portray social issues. Mass media include (but is not limited to) news media (e.g., news or magazine article, editorial, opinion piece, letter to the editor), advertising media (e.g. commercial or public service advertisement), and social media (e.g., blogs, internet forums, wikis, podcasts, etc.). Find a media piece (print or online) that addresses a social issue (i.e., poverty, racism, heterosexism/homophobia, etc.). It does not have to discuss policy specifically, but can be on any aspect of social policy such as equity and diversity issues, social assistance/welfare, housing, crime, women’s rights, the elderly, children, etcFind a news article, editorial, a columnist’s opinion piece, or a letter to the editor that addresses a social issue.  This can be on any aspect of social policy such as social assistance/welfare, housing, crime, women’s rights, the elderly, children, etc. You can use print or on-line editions of any Canadian newspaper or an article you have read. You may also use an article in a news magazine, such as MacLean’s and Saturday Night. See also Suggest Sites below for more ideas. Please do not use a journal or scholarly article.Your 5-7 paged paper (double-spaced) must include the following:A brief description of the article: What is the main point or message that the author is trying to make? Who is the author? Can you tell me about the author? Where did you find this article? What is the date of the article?What ideology does the author adopt? How do you know? Don’t just tell but but show me by providing specific examples (i.e., a quote or direct reference from the article)!What are the key elements of ideology that are used in your article? Give an example for each element that you have identified (i.e., a quote or direct reference from the article)!Submit the article that you used for this assignment. If the article is found on the web, all you need to do is submit the web address with your paper. If the article is in print only, you must scan the article and submit it electronically via the submission folder.
The purpose of this assignment is to have you focus on the underlying ideological perspectives that the media uses to portray social issues. Mass media include (but is not limited to) news media (e.g.
7 A gap between the rich and the poor has always existed. In current years, however, the gap has increased dramatically. In the article by Steven Kerstetter, “The Affordability Gap”, he uses recent statistics to highlight just how dramatic the increase between the rich and the poor has gotten. He describes spending patterns as having a simple theme, “the more you have, the more you spend” (p. 3). As incomes increase, so does spending. He also describes poverty as not only a matter of low income, but is also “based on whether people are able to participate in a meaningful way in the society around them” (p. 4). He uses statistics from the Survey of Household Spending done each year by Statistics Canada. He then uses Statistics from this survey to describe just how large the gap between the rich and the poor has gotten. The survey has divided spending expenditures into six categories: food, shelter, clothing, household operation, transportation, recreation, income taxes, and other spending. Household incomes are broken down into five groups of 20% quintiles. One person households made up 67% of the poorest quintile and 5% of the richest quintile. Two person households are more common in higher quintiles, probably because these households have two incomes coming in. Seniors also make up 42% of the poorest quintile and 5% of the richest quintile. Spending has increased as wages have increased. However, the smallest increases in spending have been in the poorest quintile, with the largest increases happening in the richest quintile. The statistics are broken down into estimates of how much each quintile is spending on each of the six categories of spending expenditures. Spending on food is broken down into two categories, money spent on food bought in grocery and corner stores, and food from restaurants, snack bars and vending machines. The poorest quintile spent $3,134 on food bought from grocery stores and this rose to $11,321 in the richest quintile. Money spent on shelter was divided up between renting and owning households. These statistics show a large increase in home owners and a decline in renters as incomes rise. The article states that items in the survey, other than food and shelter, vary greatly in each quintile. He points out that this helps to indicate the extent of social inclusion or social exclusion. Child care percentages were hard to evaluate because of differing costs and governments normally provide more child care support to low income families. Owning vehicles and travelling by plane increased in the richest quintile, but using local transportation stayed in the same range across quintiles. The category of recreation covers leisure activities, including sports equipment, computer equipment, home entertainment, movies, live sports, performing arts, museums, and newspapers. Again, Steven points out that it shows that the more money people have, the more they spend on recreation. He suggests that museums and art galleries may not have such low numbers, in both categories, if the government opened them to the public at no charge. The amount of alcohol bought in the richer quintiles may reflect the “larger household sizes, more frequent drinking and more expensive wines and liquors purchased” (p. 14). He points out the difference. He then finishes the article by looking at income taxes on 2007 income, and two types of payroll deductions: charitable donations and life insurance premiums. He acknowledges that “aside from half the houses in the poorest quintile” (p. 15), the amount paid jumped from quintile to quintile. He attributes this to the fact that people in the poorest quintile were on such income programs as welfare or the Federal Guaranteed Income supplement that are tax free. Some households may also have market incomes that were lower than the taxable minimum income. This article presents a strong social democratic view. It highlights the isolation of the poor. It presents aspects of the social democratic views on human nature, social beliefs, economic values and social welfare. Human nature, from the social democratic viewpoint, describes people as social animals (Nixon, 2009). In order to reach our full potential, we need to be able to live together, as a community (Nixon, 2009). However, we have been corrupted by capitalism, which is way we have a divide between the rich and the poor (Nixon, 2009). Being a capitalist society, we have emphasized competition and making profit. However, we fail to realize the differing circumstances people are in. For example, it is much easier to go to university when you are living at home and your parents are paying for classes. If you were a mother of three, with bills to pay, university would be a hard goal to accomplish. The article shows us, in official statistics, that this gap is growing, promoting isolation. With increasing incomes of the rich, the article shows that spending on basic items were sometimes six to seven times higher in these households (p.16). Steven Kerstetter uses food as an example to show how different spending on basic items is between the richest quintile and the poorest quintile: average spending on food was three times higher in the richest quintile then the poorest quintile (p.16). He states that differences between the two groups show two kinds of social exclusion between these two groups: the amount spent on basic necessities and the amount spent on items that are non-vital to survival (p.16). According to social democracy, this isolation is limiting people to reach their full potential. The government should implement training programs that are affordable to everyone. Or by making the “playing field” equal by, for example, providing free childcare and shelter to a single mother who going back to university. This way, the mother can focus more on her education and less about paying bills. By not helping people out, we are wasting economical resources (Nixon, 2009). This brings us to social beliefs in social democracy, which states that we need to promote equality between humans. To do this, we would need government interventions to “de-emphasize competition” (Nixon, 2009). Society should be promoting equality, rather than inequality that some are faced with today. However, since we live in a capitalist society, not a lot has been done to advance this ideal. The government should be promoting full employment and well developed social welfare programs. The article suggests that a substantial increase in minimum wage and welfare rates is needed (p. 16). Social democracy is based on a structural model (Nixon, 2009) and because of this we need to find the root of the problem in order to restructure things. Inequality is brought about by people having unfair advantages, such as being born into a rich family (Nixon, 2009). The government needs to find a way that all people have access to the same opportunities, such as university, college and employment. Humanitarianism promotes a minimum standard of living (Nixon, 2009), which the government needs to help promote in society otherwise the gap between the rich and the poor is going to continue to increase. The people in the poorer quintiles should also have a say in what programs are instated to help them. The programs would be created to help them, and they would know best what would be beneficial in their lives. Giving poorer quintiles a say in what programs are created and used would hopefully maximize the benefits of the programs. Social democracy believes that social welfare should be the central social value (Nixon, 2009). The government should be promoting a network of social services and income security programs (Nixon, 2009). This would prevent social problems and give social justice (Nixon, 2009). People deserve to be able to support their families and to have the opportunity for employment (Nixon, 2009). These are basic human rights. These opportunities would also help individuals feel connected to the rest of society, which would make them less likely to cause social problems. Doing this would decrease the amount of problems faced by our society. This would also help our society economically, as all individuals would have the same opportunities. This would be beneficial since an individual may have the potential to be a genius, but without being given the opportunity to do so, this potential may never be realized. In conclusion, poverty is limiting people to reach their full potential. From a social democratic view, it is the government’s job to implement social welfare programs to help deal with the source of this problem and to help people have equal opportunity. Otherwise, a continually increasing gap will continue to occur between the poor and the rich, furthering social isolation between these two groups. Reference page Nixon, K. (2008, October 14). Social Democracy and Marxism. Presented at a SWRK 1310 lecture at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. Kerstetter, S. (2009). The Affordabiltiy Gap: spending differences between Canada’s rich and poor (p.3-17). Canadian centre for policy alternatives. Retrieved October 17, 2009, from
The purpose of this assignment is to have you focus on the underlying ideological perspectives that the media uses to portray social issues. Mass media include (but is not limited to) news media (e.g.
Media Paper Running head: IDEOLOGY AND THE MEDIA Ideology and the Media Paper The present article found in The Winnipeg Sun (online edition), “Planes, trains and homeless” by John Mohan, touches on the topic of homelessness in the city of New York. John Mohan is the Chief Executive Officer of Siloam Mission (Canadian Charity) and weekly columnist for The Winnipeg Sun. In the article John Mohan (2009) discusses the contents of a radio report that was circulating in Winnipeg sometime in late July and early August of 2009. The radio report stated that the city of New York was working to cut down on welfare costs by giving free airline/bus tickets to the homeless community in order to remove them from the city. Having been outraged by what seemed as the act of dumping the homelessness problem elsewhere, a friend of Mohan (2009) further investigated the story and found a more humane explanation. Every year individuals move to New York in search for new opportunities and a better life only to face hardships (Mohan, 2009). Consequently, more people find themselves living in homeless shelters with no other options. As a result, support services for the homeless are costing the city tens of thousands of dollars per year (Mohan, 2009). As an attempt to resolve the issue of homelessness in New York City (NYC), service intake workers enquired from the homeless community if they would benefit from moving somewhere else (Mohan, 2009). Ultimately, “would you go home or live with family if you could, no matter where they lived; if we helped you get there?”(Mohan, 2009). Confirmation of people willing to take in the homeless created the process of purchasing transportation such as one way airline and bus tickets, both nationally and internationally, by the city of New York (Mohan, 2009). The result being a reduction in emergency service costs while “people are connected to homes and family with a fighting chance to start over and get out of shelter living…”(Mohan, 2009). Mohan (2009) discusses how a similar scenario occurred in Winnipeg with a man by the name of Steve. Steve was sent to the Province of Quebec after Steve had encountered trouble with the law and was seen by a doctor who helped stabilize him. When Steve was lucid under medication, he disclosed he wanted to go back to Quebec. Steve frequented the Siloam Mission shelter and spoke with the director, Wayne who along with provincial welfare workers made it possible for Steve to go back to the Province of Quebec. Mohan ends the article with some questions in regards to how Steve may be doing and if he is now the social problem of that province. He also goes on to say, “going home is not always an option. That’s the issue that usually starts homelessness” (Mohan, 2009). The ideology most prevalent in the article is that of a Liberal one with some Neo-Conservative and Social Democratic undertones. This is evident in the way Mohan views the issue of homelessness. The Liberal view that we all have the same level of equality and start off at the same place (Nixon, 2009) is seen when he states, people in homeless shelters are given “a fighting chance to start over and get out of shelter living” (Mohan, 2009). Mohan’s view of human nature also denotes a Liberal stance when he states the reasons for people migrating to New York City in the first place. Mohan (2009) discusses how “often people have wandered to New York searching for a better life”. According to Nixon (2009) the Liberal view of people are both egoistic (self-interest) and altruistic (concern for others). NYC is looking out for the interest of the homeless people by giving them a chance to improve their lives. But the city is also looking out for their best interest in cutting welfare costs by sending the homeless people away. While the idea of homeless people wanting to return home in order to better their lives reflects Liberalism, the way that Mohan describes Steve illustrates the Neo-Conservative ideology. Neo-Conservatives view human beings as being imperfect, and the author’s description of Steve’s history focuses on his faults such as striking an off-duty officer and going through public ashtrays. This is example of failing to consider societal factors. When Mohan proposed the question, “is he now just the problem of the Province of Quebec?” (Mohan, 2009) he emphasizes Steve, the individual, as the issue. Another Neo-Conservative view of human nature is how people are unable to make choices, they only respond to incentives (Nixon, 2009). The author presents Steve as making a bad decision by moving to Winnipeg, so the government needed to provide him with the incentive of a bus pass and spending money to go back home to Quebec. The article also reveals the element of human nature from the Social Democratic ideology. Social Democrats view humans as essentially good and that they need the right environment in order to reach their full potential (Nixon, 2009). The government of New York is encouraging the homeless to go back to the environments where they will be more likely to reach their full potential, “people are reconnected to homes and family with a fighting chance to start over and get out of shelter living,”(Mohan, 2009). Liberalism sees society as, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (Nixon, 2009). According to Nixon (2009), the Liberal view says that people have evolved to become better, more caring and cooperative human beings. This view is illustrated in the article when Mohan (2009) says, “upon confirmation of people at the desired destination willing to assist the distressed individuals, arrangements are made…” Another aspect of the society element indicates that individual freedom is paramount but so is the wellbeing of society as they are both connected (Nixon, 2009). Individuals want to satisfy their interests but also collective interests (Nixon, 2009). By giving away free tickets, NYC is not only looking out for their own best interest but also collective interests. The city is cutting back on their welfare costs and they are “solving” the homeless problem, “emergency service costs are reduced and people are reconnected to homes and family with a fighting chance to start over and get out of shelter living” (Mohan, 2009). The nation state’s responsibility is to take action to ensure that individuals can sustain themselves (Nixon, 2009). This is demonstrated by providing transportation to the homeless. Liberalism works within the system to help those in need, by supplying airline tickets and/or bus fare, the nation state’s view of helping people is therefore met. Another major role of the state in liberalism is to ensure equal opportunity and intervention that should maximize individual welfare (Nixon, 2009). One example of this is when Mohan (2009) poses the question, “would you go home or live with family if you could, no matter where they lived; if we helped you get there?” Equal opportunity in this case would be seen as providing a way for the individual to go home and start fresh. Intervention by the state is evident in that NYC is providing tickets free of charge to those in need. This can also be seen as an example of Neo-Conservatism due to the individual being referred to the family first and the state is seen as the last resort. According to Social Democrats the role of the nation state is to provide active intervention to promote collective good and help the economy (Nixon, 2009). Mohan (2009) articulates that while NYC’s plan benefits the economy, they are also trying to help the community, “emergency service costs are reduced and people are reconnected to homes and family” (Mohan, 2009). Social beliefs under Liberalism ideology states that everyone has the same level of equality and starts off at the same place (Nixon, 2009). People in homeless shelters are given “a fighting chance to start over and get out of shelter living”(Mohan, 2009) according to this ideology. Everyone should have access to opportunities (Nixon, 2009) and NYC is providing this by allowing people to choose if they want to leave the city and reconnect with their social networks. Social problems under Liberal ideology focus more on the technical flaws in the capitalist system and try to fine-tune this system (Nixon, 2009). Mohan, at first, thought that NYC was “simply dumping their homelessness problem on everywhere else.” We think that instead of looking at the problem from a structural sense, they need to ask questions such as, why are there so many homeless people in NYC? In our view NYC is trying to lessen the problem by providing one-way tickets to some of the homeless, specifically those in shelters. Prior to having this option to go home to another state or country, they did not have any other avenues to take. This is an example of fine-tuning the system as now people are given the chance to leave the city, those that have the option, and start fresh. But still are not provided further assistance and is only shifting people from one city to another. Mohan (2009) ends his article with questions about Steve, “we haven’t seen him in two years…how is Steve doing?” Questions that at this point, are not being answered, an example of ameliorating the problem. In terms of social welfare, Liberalism meets the social minimum, it believes in advocacy but not in making structural changes. This is evident in the article by not providing a structural solution to homelessness, merely a band-aid approach of removing the social problem to other cities. NYC advocates for the homeless by trying to reach people that may be able to help those in shelters, such as friends or family members. Another example of this was when Wayne, the director of Siloam Mission on behalf of Steve, “helped make the connections with provincial welfare workers [as a result], Steve got a bus pass and some spending money to go home…” (Mohan, 2009). We found that the content in this article exemplifies Liberal ideological elements, but with some Neo-Conservative and Social Democratic undertones. As we have illustrated, the most prevalent elements were: human nature, society, nation state, social beliefs, social problems, and social welfare. References Nixon, K. (2009, September 28). Social problem, ideology and neo-conservatism. Presented at a SWRK 1310 lecture at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. Nixon, K. (2009, October 5). Liberalism and the third way. Presented at a SWRK 1310 lecture at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. Nixon, K. (2009, October 19). Ideology: social democracy and marxism. Presented at a SWRK 1310 lecture at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. Mohan, J. (2009, August 5). Plains, Trains and Homeless. Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved from
The purpose of this assignment is to have you focus on the underlying ideological perspectives that the media uses to portray social issues. Mass media include (but is not limited to) news media (e.g.
1.) Brief description of the article (5%) Briefly (1-2 pages) tell me about the article – assume that I have NOT read it. What is the author’s main thesis or point? What is the context of the paper? Where did you find it (e.g., was it in the Winnipeg Free Press, Maclean’s, online magazine?)? Can you tell me anything about the author (e.g., a left or right-wing political columnist?) 2.) Discussion of ideology and key elements (10%) What ideology(ies) does the author embrace? How do you know? What are the ideological elements that are present in the article? You should be able to provide at least 3 or 4 elements. Any less, then you should choose a “meatier” article. Please provide specific quotes to illustrate the presence of the ideological elements (in other words, show me, as opposed to tell me, why you think a particular ideology is adopted).  3.) Grammar, spelling, and general writing style (5%) Must be in essay format Double-spaced Include page numbers on each page First person (“I” or “we”) is acceptable Include a properly APA (7th Ed.) formatted reference page

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