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Thread: Disability and Benefits as defined by the media - what is going on?

  1. #1
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    Disability and Benefits as defined by the media - what is going on?

    We as a group, as disabled and living on benefits, are being constantly maligned in the press and on TV.

    I rarely admit to being on benefits, do you?

    There have been programmes on tv lately that turn your hair white, and you know yet another viewer or reader will convert to the notion that all people who have to live on benefits are scroungers.

    This is not acceptable. This is not demonising smokers or people who are overweight. This is not hunting with dogs. Yet the demonising going on in the press and on TV is turning more and more people to view all benefit receivers as scroungers.

    The latest TV series, that Lottery Syndicate one, was portraying a nurse/carer as having a job and receiving benefits, and just for good measure, she was earning money on the side as well by doing people's ironing! I ask you, how could anyone believe that could possibly go on for two years without anyone finding out? Yet there it was, portrayed and, although fiction, there are always going to be viewers who draw the wrong conclusions from these fictional characters.

    Another series (can't remember the name, but please tell me what it is if you do remember it) had one episode where a builder chap (a main character's father) was living on DLA and they had taken him off it and told him to get back to work, whereupon he had applied for a job with a russian building firm in the UK and was paying someone to nail gun his hand, so that he could claim compensation for industrial injury and go back on the sick. I mean, really.

    But people will remember these 'tales' and draw their conclusions accordingly. And those of us who have no alternative but to live on benefits are bearing the brunt.

    Then there was a documentary series where a chap followed people around and exposed them as benefit frauds. So 'real life' this time. Ok there are a few fraudsters out there, but they are the exception, not the rule. I wonder how many people they followed around and found out they weren't putting it on? I bet there were quite a few, the series didn't last long. Obviously they wouldn't say if they had got it wrong, those people simply wouldn't have been shown, as the show was all about the benefit cheats who play golf in their spare time.

    I mean, Honestly. Who approves these programmes? Don't the writers care about the message it gives out? Yes, it's supposed to be fictional, but do viewers perceive TV as reflecting real life? Yes, they do.

    As the writer of this article in The Guardian explains, most of the tales about benefits are myths. It makes good reading, but it is the only article I can find which is supporting of people who have to live on benefits and not supporting myths about how many are cheating the system. If the facts and figures have been verified (I assume the Guardian would check the facts??), then this article indeed proves that benefit recipients are indeed being demonised, by the press and TV, and sanctioned by the programme makers, the Editors, and also the Government.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/ap...myths-debunked

    The fact (yes it's a fact) that the benefit bill has gone up is in direct line with the population going up, more people living longer, etc. Nothing to do with the fact that more people would prefer to have their lifestyle supported by benefits instead of working, as our parliament would have everyone believe, and was recently demonstrated by using a child killer as an example.
    see here:http://metro.co.uk/2013/04/04/george...e-him-3583214/

    So what can be done about this?

    I am complaining every time I see a programme on TV like the ones I've mentioned above. I write letters to newspapers when I read something that has an opinionated slant. I am writing to anyone who I think will listen. Any other suggestions?

    As an aside to this... my neighbour knows I live on disability benefits, and I am entitled to them. But I have asked her not to tell her working son as he 'hates all people on benefits'. She said he didn't used to have this attitude and she is ashamed of him, but where did he get the so-called 'facts' from on which to base his judgement? From the press and TV, that's where.

    THIS HAS TO STOP.

  2. #2
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    The fact is your neighbours son probably claims benefits too, be it council tax, housing, child benefit, tax credits the list goes on.

    You could point out to him that more than 50% of the population on disability related benefits also work, including myself.

    But it comes down to the fact that most people don't understand that the majority of the benefits bill is down to pensioners, but you wouldn't cut their benefits would you?
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    Senior Member googlybear's Avatar
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    Dominic Littlewood did a series, "Saints and Scroungers" i think it was called, where he highlighted some kind of benefit fraudster and someone whom he had to help to get their benefits for them. It was nice to see a balance, but i'll bet most people only remember the stories of the fraudster...
    Illegitimi non carborundum

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    I remember that series, GB. It was nice to see a balance. But what we have lately portrayed in the media is swaying public opinion of people who live on benefits as all being scroungers. We need to do something about this.

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    I've a science degree and worked in manufacuring in a variety of senior management roles for over 25 years before I HAD to stop working .... not CHOSE to stop working as some people would, in the public eye, have Joe Public believe. It was HARD WORK and the stress that came with it that made me ill. In fact given that I paid 40% tax for much of my working life I am not amused that I am depicted as a scrounger. I have not ever ASKED for anything. What I have and now receive is due to my care support intervening. Suicide was my prefered option after stopping work ..... not scrounging !!!!!!!!
    Last edited by Tatty_Tat; 03-05-13 at 09:35.

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    The unfortunate thing is that there are people who are falsely claiming etc, but we all then get tarred with the same brush. If you are on JSA you are too lazy to get a job, if you are on sickness benefits you are a malingerer or lying about your illness/condition. Yes there are some like that, but I think the figures for fraudelent DLA claims is something like 0.5%? I am sure there are plenty of people on JSA that would love to work with a decent living wage coming in. There are plenty of sick/disabled that feel they can do some sort of work but do not get the chance. I myself always worked until a few yrs ago when my conditions just became too much to continue working. I would love to still be working and feel like I am doing something worthwhile and contributing to society. I still try to do my bit by making cards etc for the local charity shops to sell, but its not the same as working.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

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    Thank you Blue-badger.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

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    Well done for letter everything you said is correct, I am 60 yrs in September crippled by osteo arthritis, heart trouble, and various other ailments. The long and short of it is my husband does everything for me, when I claimed DLA I was given a medical. I also remember a doctor coming once without any warning, yet this government decide my retirement age is raised to 68. You see them going on about the welfare bills, yet not once have I heard from any minister about the immigrants that are claiming (could they not be part of the bills going up) So once again well done for your views telling what everyone is feeling

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    Senior Member susieboots's Avatar
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    I enjoyed the read, well said

  10. #10
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    Bless you Cardiff Lady.

    I used to be the one ringing people up at home to tell them to "get their asses into work .... there's no such thing as stress.

    Funny old world

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