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About media framing • (written by Brian Dean)

“State fat cats”

State fat catsAug 25, 2011 – It almost looks like a Mail-Express double-act (see yesterday’s Express). The framing in both cases seems to be provided by the rightwing pressure group, The TaxPayers’ Alliance (both Mail and Express quoted TPA). The “state” (and its “fat cats”) in this case refers to Quangos. “Quango” was originally an acronym for ‘QUasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation’. The idea was that they would not be a formal part of the state structure – it brought “private sector” framing (and ideology) into the public realm.

Widespread waste, bureaucracy, corruption, etc, followed. It’s now been successfully reframed as “state”.

The Mail story segues smoothly from “state fat cats” to “generous” redundancy payments for public sector workers. It then quotes a Tory politician: “this sort of generosity would not be found in the private sector”, and a TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesperson: “Most taxpayers could only dream of such a generous redundancy.”

Not all quangos (or “public bodies”) are equally wasteful and corrupt. For those who have the time, there is much more to this story. See, as a starting point, Britain’s Shock Doctrine.

Alternative headlines:

Written by NewsFrames

August 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

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  1. …and just as you mention Britain’s Shock Doctrine, http://www.indymediascotland.org/node/24874

    “Just before 6pm today former Liberal Democrat member Stuart Rodger, was arrested for throwing a blue paint filled egg at Nick Clegg in Glasgow. As he was arrested he was heard shouting “No Shock Doctrine for Britain”. This is a reference to reference to Naomi Klein’s book in which she describes how crises are artificially manipulated by neo-liberal Governments in order to impose economic shock therapies, such as the cuts to public services and the welfare state that, in the UK, have provoked the largest mass demonstrations in recent years.”

    • Thanks for that literally up-to-the-minute bit of news, Matt. Be interesting to see if that “No Shock Doctrine for Britain” line is mentioned in any media coverage…


      August 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

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