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- xii, 296 p. ; 24 cm.
- 1. The American Welfare State: Public Opinion and Public Policy -- 2. Individualism, Self-Interest, and Opposition to Welfare -- 3. Racial Attitudes, the Undeserving Poor, and Opposition to Welfare -- 4. Assessing Alternative Explanations: Statistical Models of Welfare Attitudes -- 5. The News Media and the Racialization of Poverty -- 6. Media Distortions: Causes and Consequences -- 7. Racial Stereotypes and Public Responses to Poverty -- 8. Beyond the Attitude Survey: Public Opinion and Antipoverty Policy -- 9. The Politics of the American Welfare State.Drawing on surveys of public attitudes and analyses of more than forty years of television and newsmagazine stories on poverty, Gilens demonstrates how public opposition to welfare is fed by a potent combination of racial stereotypes and misinformation about the true nature of America's poor. But white Americans don't oppose welfare simply because they think it benefits blacks; rather, they think it benefits "undeserving" blacks who would rather live off the government than work, a perception powerfully fueled by the media's negative coverage of the black poor. The public's views on welfare, Gilens shows, are a complex mixture of cynicism and compassion; misinformed and racially charged, they nevertheless reflect both a distrust of welfare recipients and a desire to do more to help the "deserving" poor.Includes bibliographical references (p. -279) and index.