News Summary: Hit UK show stirs welfare debate


POVERTY TV: The hit reality TV show "Benefits Street," featuring welfare recipients, has struck a strong chord in a Britain fresh out of recession and still reeling from its most brutal austerity measures in a generation.

THE CRITICISM: Some say "Benefits Street" and its ilk are designed to fan hatred by showing people on the dole in the worst possible light, turning the poor — stereotyped as lazy and dishonest — into fodder for crass entertainment and easy targets for blame.

ROUGH REACTION: Scores of viewers took to Twitter to vent as soon as the first episode aired earlier this month. Some even made death threats. "Set fire to Benefits Street," read one tweet. "How can we eradicate this scum?" asked another.

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