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Calling for More Humane Treatment, and News Coverage, of the Homeless
Sahra Sulaiman writes from Los Angeles, providing a survey of recent news coverage that "punches down" on the homeless population in the city, from the Los Angeles Times and the local NBC affiliate, and along the way points out the numerous other framing devices and words media outlets can choose to use when covering homelessness.
A separate article by Tim Mercer crafts a similar argument for Austin, except the focus of this criticism is the politicians that do the state's work in that city. Mercer, a professor and a doctor who treats the homeless in Austin, writes:
My heart is heavy. ”‘Vagrants’, ‘derelicts’, ‘filth’, and ‘vermin’” is what some Austinites are calling individuals experiencing homelessness, according to the Statesman’s analysis of communications sent to Gov. Greg Abbott in support of his recent actions to address homelessness. These human beings who are referred to as “vermin” are my patients. I and others who work in this field choose our words very carefully when we say “individuals experiencing homelessness.” Because “homeless” does not define them and is not their identity. It certainly does not reduce them to dirt or insects.