Media use and perceptions of welfare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines public perceptions of the characteristics of a typical welfare recipient and of welfare programs, and how these perceptions reflect differences in individuals' media use. The evidence shows that contextually poor, event-centered, and personalized media content use, represented by exposure and attention to television cable news, and entertainment shows, works in the direction of introducing typical biases in welfare perceptions: perception of welfare recipients as non-White, female, of younger age, and of higher federal spending on welfare programs. In contrast, watching more thematic television stories about welfare and poverty, as well as reading public affairs content in newspapers, has overall positive effects on the accuracy of perceptions of welfare. In turn, perceptions of welfare recipients and welfare programs affect individual's support for welfare programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-774
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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