Survey after survey has shown that the Americans who support increased funding for social programs also think--somewhat paradoxically--that "welfare" should be cut. Does that paradox exist because the face of welfare that people see on the news is, more often than not, black? Martin Gilens answers yes to this question in Why Americans Hate Welfare.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 the answer isn't simply that white Americans oppose welfare 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.Gilens not only examines public opinion and public policy; he also explores the historical context that shaped these attitudes and the role the news media have played in "racializing" poverty and poverty programs. 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.Why Americans Hate Welfare ruthlessly punctures myths and misconceptions about welfare policy, public opinion, and the role of the media in both. Gilens has tackled one of the most incendiary issues in contemporary politics, and the result is a book that policy makers, news directors, and voters will have to reckon with.