Social Policy, the Media, and Misrepresentation

By Bob Franklin | Go to book overview

The outcome of the Waterhouse enquiry will undoubtedly be a matter of profound public interest. As we have seen, though, this does not help us predict how the press will treat it. That will be determined by a judgement as to whether it will interest their public. Politically and commercially it is safer to entertain and titillate, even to make readers indignant, than to take risks with their ontological security.


Notes
1
The discussion of press coverage is based on all the national weekday newspapers except the Financial Times which does not routinely cover social work and welfare issues. Where a sample has been drawn it usually consists of the Guardian (the principal centre-left broadsheet), the Daily Telegraph (a right-wing broadsheet), the Daily Mail, which dominates the mid-market sector, the (Daily) Mirror and the Sun. Since the 1997 election neither of these mass tabloids have been easy to place politically. In general, however, the Mirror is more sympathetic to collective welfare provision and those that work in the sector.
2
Children may be 'in care' but still living with parent(s). 'Care' is a legal process giving local authority social services (and the NSPCC) the right to take action to protect children who are thought to be at risk of harm.

References

a
Aldridge, M. (1994) Making Social Work News, London: Routledge.
---(1995) 'Contemplating the monster: UK national press treatment of the Frank Beck affair', The Sociological Review 43(4):658-674.
---(1999) 'Probation officer training, promotional culture and the public sphere', Public Administration 77(1):73-90.
Aldridge, M. and Eadie, T. (1997) 'Manufacturing an issue: the case of probation officer training'; Critical Social Policy 17(1):111-124.

b
Blom Cooper, L. (1987) A Child in Mind: Protection of Children in a Responsible Society:The Report into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Kimberley Carlile, London: London Borough of Greenwich.

c
Cm 412 (1988) Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland 1987, London: HMSO.

d
Davies, N. (1998) 'The most secret crime'-a series of four articles, Guardian 2-5 June 1998.

f
Fairclough, N. (1991) 'What might we mean by “enterprise culture”?', in R. Keat and N. Abercrombie (eds) Enterprise Culture, London: Routledge.

i
ITC (1996) 'Revealing sources', Spectrum (Independent Television Commission magazine), Winter: 23.

k
Keeble, R. (1994) The Newspapers Handbook, London: Routledge.

l
La Fontaine, J. (1998) Speak of the Devil: Tales of Satanic Abuse in Contemporary England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levy, A. and Kahan, B. (1991) The Pindown Experience and the Protection of Children, Stafford: Staffordshire County Council.

p
Parton, N. (1991) Governing the Family, London: Macmillan.
Police Complaints Authority (1993) Inquiry into Police Complaints Authority Report of

-102-

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