Critically evaluate either tabloid or broadsheet reporting of health and social care issues in the United Kingdom, using research and press materials about two or more topics covered in the module. Domestic violence is a worldwide social problem, which has extremely high prevalence, affecting as many as 1. 2 million woman and 800,000 men in the United Kingdom during 2011 and 2012 according to the Office of National Statistics (2013). It is only fairly recently that it has been considered a social problem, domestic violence was discovered, publicly in the asses Beers (2008).
Beers (2008) also argues that domestic violence may be influenced by a larger culture of violence, which is regarded as a private matter by society and the police. How the media represents health and social care issues is imperative as it shapes the publics views, attitudes and beliefs. This is a significant issue as is not confined to social class nor is it gender specific, although media representation would suggest that domestic violence affects predominately woman.
Frazier, Flagmen (2014) maintain that assumption surrounding domestic violence discourse that women are predominately seen as the victims and that it is a sociological construction. It is argued however that this assumption of female victims of violence as done to the statistics. However, this also refers back to how women are seen in society as both extremely passive and vulnerable Frazier, Flagmen (2014) or as, in some articles extremely neurotic.
Prenatal testing refers to an embryo test for a range of specific conditions such as downs syndrome, genetic diseases along with many others. There are many reasons as to the objectives of this which are to help prepare the parents, both psychologically and medically for health implications, secondly to prepare for any possible surgery before and after birth and thirdly a chance for the parents o abort the unborn baby. The benefits of prenatal testing according to the Department of Health (2003) include an individualized prediction of the risks involved and safer use of medicines.
However there are numerous concerns surrounding this type of testing including how this will impact society as a whole and what it says about the values we ensue (Human Genetics Commission 2006). These values mean if a woman decided to have an abortion, purely based on the results of the prenatal test. The representation of this in the British media is vastly pessimistic and appears to focus primarily on downs syndrome and the active impact this may have on a parent. The negativity towards disability, by placing disability and illness together is created by social science and encouraged by the media.
It is argued that prenatal testing is a significant achievement for modern medicine in order to form control over nature but also within western society to produce the ideal/perfect body Torture (2000). Throughout the prenatal testing procedure woman and health professionals are faced with the concept of risk and with the limitations probabilistic thinking. The process of prenatal testing demonstrates the pressure between the purpose of controlling sis surveillance and the eternal uncertainty surrounding life processes Burton- Jeaneries, Cavil et al (2013).
Torture (2002) also states that the ideals that surround the perfect body (healthy, able bodied) and how society can measure these ideals and those with disability disrupt the cultural ideal of the healthy, attractive and able bodied constructed by consumerism and the media. It is often seen that disabled people are portrayed in the media as either sufferers and awfully vulnerable, or as ‘heroes’ Sale (2008). It is clear that the majority of media coverage which involves pregnancy and child birth is presented as a time f risk (Sale 2002).
This risk is constructed around the individual, almost seeing the baby as separate to the mother, which then allows for medical interference, such as prenatal testing or pain relief during pregnancy Gave (1995). Beers (2008) argues that media coverage of social problems is framed by the readers’ political interest and The Times paper is predominately a right leaning, or conservative paper. When reporting on celebrities or public figures the Medias representation of domestic violence materialists a very different perspective, to that of a report on a person outside of the public eye.
This is evident in the article published in The Times ‘Tory PM to quit after assault on ex-girlfriend’ Elliot (2014). The Guardian also reported Ruffles resignation following the domestic violence case, with the headline ‘David Ruffled ‘should step down as PM immediately over domestic violence case’ Topping (2014). The language used in the headline alone, suggests an opposite perspective of a more serious note, such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘immediately’.
The article printed in The Times is predominantly right leaning throughout; it is almost sympathetic towards Ruffled, by refusing o discuss the actual assault, or potentially negative information regarding the PM. Furthermore Ruffles injuries are mentioned, which have no relevance, along with his bought of depression. Following this, the article quotes Ruffled stating ‘one incident of domestic abuse is one too many’ and how grateful he is on the support of this conservative association, again mentioning his ill health.
The language and structure of this article are primarily unrelated to the headline, which also suggests political bias towards the right, as previously mentioned the article sympathizes with Ruffled. In essence this article is vastly succinct and does not convey the seriousness of domestic violence, with well over half of the article’s information irrelevant to the headline. Contrary to this The Guardian throughout emphasizes the seriousness of the incident, as one of domestic violence, particularly as a member of parliament, and one that is involved creating policy surrounding domestic violence.
The article suggests for Ruffled to resign with immediate effect and discusses the females connected to the conservative party, stating that his behavior is ‘unacceptable’ in a published letter Topping (2014). This entire article is exceptionally left leaning, very critical f the Tory PM, looking at the event in detail, from the perspective of domestic violence charity workers, who state that the ‘conservative party would turn a blind eye to the message… Allowing an PM with a conviction to continue in office.. ‘ and Michael Grove was quoted calling Ruffled ‘Outstanding’ Topping (2014).
Topping is very clearly against the conservative party and this article was written with the social justice frame as Topping goes beyond just discussing the PM and looks at the issue on a much larger scale, using also a feminist perspective from the Facet Society Beers (2008) The media primarily portrays domestic violence asses as those of woman as the victim. However recently there has been a rise in reported cases of domestic violence towards men, with 800,000 cases during 2011 – 2012 (Office for National Statistics 2013).
Beers (2008) states that the anti- feminist frame concentrates on male victims and female violence. Arguing that this type of frame does not take the issue of domestic violence seriously, by De-gendering the problem and gendering the blame. However as previously mentioned domestic violence is not gender specific. Consequently the media has reflected this The Times reported ‘Woman ‘more likely to hit their partners’ Bennett (2014). This article was based on a study completed by a psychology lecturer and asked participants (both men and woman) aged 18-22 to measure their behavior on a scale.
The study only consisted of 1,000 participants with a 4 year age gap, which makes the results less likely to reflect the population However this article is challenging pre-conceived ideas about domestic violence and raising awareness of male victims. The imagery used in this article portrays a woman looking vulnerable and passive, whereas the Guardian’s image is of a woman looking neurotic and very violent. This is a social construction, which rebelliously mentioned, and argued by Frazier, Flagmen (2014), women are seen as one or the other in the media.
The Guardian claims ‘More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male’ stating these cases are ‘ignored by police’ Campbell (2010). Similarly to the previous Guardian article, this conveys the severity of the situation, with provocative imagery of a woman attacking a man and shocking language and statistics, such as ‘more than one in four woman and one in six men have experienced domestic abuse’ Campbell (2010). It is also mentioned that it is culturally difficult for men to discuss domestic violence asses with the police, through fear of the stigma attached.
King and Watson (2005) argue that placing disability and illness together is a construction of social science, considering the majority of disabled people are in fact healthy. The devaluation of disabled children and the hostility towards the disabled has been influenced heavily by the media King and Watson (2009). This is evident in the Guardian reporting on prenatal testing with the headline ‘Downs risk or potential miscarriage: NASH offers stark choice’ Campbell (2009).
This already gives the article a negative tone, suggesting this is the only option for Oman. Following this the first line states that down syndrome children ‘bring uncertainty, confusion and fear Campbell (2009) suggesting that this is how all people feel about downs syndrome children. Throughout the main focus is Down syndrome, regardless of the fact the test covers many different conditions and implies that age, ethnicity, weight and smoking increase the risk of having a child with downs syndrome, without evidence of this statement.
It is clear that the majority of media coverage which involves pregnancy and child birth is presented as a time of risk (Sale 2002). The Times reported ‘Soon we’ll be on n ugly quest for the perfect embryos’ Knight (2009) this article provides much more scientific language looking at prenatal testing with a much more balanced view. Positive language around the terminating disabled children such as ‘the risk of eradicating extraordinary talent would also exist’ Knight (2009).
Knight also describes prenatal testing as ‘risky and ‘painful’ Knight (2009) as prenatal testing has been linked to miscarriage. The discourse provides a positive argument, which primarily discusses why having a child with a disability is not a negative experience, arguing that conditions such as autism do not need to be ‘cured’. It is mentioned in this article that the NASH should not waste its precious money on prenatal testing, suggesting a political bias towards the right. Continuing with the theme of autism and prenatal testing, the Guardian reported ‘Would you abort a disabled child? Chew (2013). The focus of this article is on autism and prenatal testing, Chew (2013) argues that the link between prenatal testing, disability and terminations is that society is not accepting of people with disabilities, stating ‘they recognize that the world is a difficult place for people with intellectual disabilities’ Chew (2013). This links in with the concept of risk which mothers are generally presented with during pregnancy, the control of risk surveillance and the uncertainty of life processes.
The concept of risk and disability is a social construction, as previously mentioned disability and illness are also a social construction as most disabled people are healthy. Although the language used is positive towards children with disabilities, there is still a negative undertone, as Chew (2013) asks ‘would I abort my disabled child? ‘