Blaming the Victim: How Global Journalism Fails Those in Poverty. By Jairo Lugo-Ocando.


  • Steve Macek


Poverty is a persistent subject of news coverage. Whether as abject victims of
disasters like Hurricane Katrina, as beneficiaries of charity, or as the focus of
social policy debates, the poor are recurring characters in journalism’s day-to-day
narrative. More often than not, though, news media representations of the poor
distort or obscure the structural causes of economic deprivation and promote
elements of the dominant, neoliberal ideology. A number of scholars have studied
how news coverage of poverty has contributed to public hostility to welfare
programs, such as the now dismantled Aid to Families with Dependent Children
(see, for instance, Gilens 1999). However, there has been a dearth of scholarly
attention to how the dominant ideological motifs running through news coverage
of poverty in advanced capitalist countries also shape the international news
media’s representations of the poor in the Global South. In Blaming the Victim:
How Global Journalism Fails Those in Poverty, Jairo Lugo-Ocando takes up the
ambitious task of analyzing those common themes and of dissecting the institutional
and political economic structures that influence how the news media cover
poverty around the world.