National Catholic Reporter

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Welfare reform, 15 years later

 |  NCR Today

As Congress remains in an agonizing deadlock over the budget and politicians sling sound bites about cuts to entitlements, smaller news outlets are looking at the impact of Welfare Reform nearly 15 years after President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.

Thirteen.org, the Web site for New York City's PBS station, looks at "5 ways New Yorkers say welfare policies fail them." In article "Even Entrepreneurs Need Food Stamps," the newspaper City Limits offers an in depth look at the complexities of receiving entitlement benefits.

Though the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to widen, fewer journalists are reporting on poverty. According to City Limits, a 2007 study of TV news by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting found that on average, nightly network newscasts reported on poverty or the poor only once every 15 weeks.

Politicians aren't helping to bring the plight of the poor to light. City Limits reports:

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"Though more Americans are poor now than ever before, President Obama didn't once say the word poverty in his 2011 State of the Union address. And [New York City Mayor] Bloomberg, despite pledging in 2006 to achieve a major reduction in poverty for those "starting their way up the economic ladder," has used the P-word only once in his past four annual addresses."

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