By Georg Cremer | However valid their empirical basis, the images commonly distributed on the social situation and welfare policy in Germany have consequences for reporting – they shape the developments that are considered worthy of reporting on and how they are interpreted. As a result, reporting serves to reinforce hardened opinions. This often negatively impacts a solution-oriented debate on reform, as problems are not considered in a sophisticated way for specific target groups. The media frequently fail to provide a critical corrective, especially when press releases from social organizations are in line with preconceived perceptions and the demands that the organizations derive from them appear to be for a good cause. Even where depictions are extremely distorted, politicians are often reluctant to take a contrasting position, as this carries the risk of being accused of wanting to ›talk down‹ social problems. A lack of statistical skills for handling complex social statistics also plays a role.