Fake news? A critical analysis of the ‘Welfare Cheats, Cheat Us All’ campaign in Ireland

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Using qualitative content analysis, informed by a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach, this article examines the production, content and reception of print and online media discourses concerning the 2017 ‘Welfare Cheats, Cheat Us All’ campaign in the Republic of Ireland. Our article is situated in the context of recent debates concerning the media’s role in articulating ‘disgust’ discourses focused on ‘welfare fraud’, poverty and unemployment. Central to these processes is the social construction of those who are deemed to be the ‘deserving poor’ or the ‘undeserving poor’. Our corpus includes records of in-house debate within the Department of Social Protection; the campaign’s documentation; print media and on-line media coverage of the campaign. The article’s findings demonstrate the ways in which welfare ‘fraud’ is mis-represented by the state and media. It also evidences ways in which such hegemonic discourses can be challenged in traditional and ‘new’ media settings.




Devereux, E., & Power, M. J. (2019). Fake news? A critical analysis of the ‘Welfare Cheats, Cheat Us All’ campaign in Ireland. Critical Discourse Studies, 16(3), 347–362. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2019.1568898

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