The Illustrated London News was a British paper that Michael De Nie described as “simultaneously expressing and shaping the views of their largely middle-class readership” (27). In accordance with this aforementioned trend of both reflection and creation of discourse within the British society, the paper “portrayed the Irish as suffering brothers and sisters, deserving of British aid” (de Nie 28). This resonates with the altruistic purpose media can achieve when overcoming inherent possibility of negativity. By the 1840s, a pervasive and self-fulfilling racial prejudice had been created against the Irish in Britain as a result of distinctions between race, religion, class, and economic prosperity (de Nie 28). However, the Illustrated London News operated from above these pitfalls of certain aspects of British society. On December 5th 1846, on the topic of poverty in Ireland they wrote ‘the cause of poverty lies far deeper; if it is an offence against society, it is mostly an unwilling and involuntary one’ (de Nie 30). From this quote is apparent there existed a basic agreement between this press and its readership about society’s duty to aid those less fortunate, which was in turn paralleled by the strong condemnation of those who were perceived of as feeding off the rest of society. In the case of the Illustrated London News articles, the middle class readership backing the press supported the idea of Ireland falling into the first category given of poverty, one that is for reasons beyond self-help and should be met with aid rather than scorn.
De Nie, Michael. "The Famine, Irish Identity, and the British Press." Irish Studies Review 6.1 (1998): 27-35. Web.
Taylor, Steve. "Views of the Famine." Views of the Famine. Wordpress, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.