Paul Ryan says he wants to fight poverty, and he can convince reporters that he means it. But what about his actual record?
OK, so maybe this headline is slightly unfair, but it seemed like a good way to capture the essence of a USA Today story (9/18/13) about the fight over food stamps. As you may already know, House Republicans are looking to cut some $40 billion from the SNAP program, otherwise known as food stamps, over the next 10 years. It's not unusual for politicians to disagree; one would hope that journalism might intervene on the side of the facts. But here's how USA Today's Paul Singer presented the issue: The cost of the federal food stamp program has exploded […]
Radio hosts author/social activists Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are on anti-poverty tour, trying to draw attention to issues that are neglected in most political discussions–and all but absent in corporate media. The good news, in theory, is that they're getting some national TV attention. But this is one of those cases where you start off wishing there was more media coverage–until you see what kind of coverage you get. Then you're wishing for something else. Appearing on CNN's American Morning (8/8/11), host Carol Costello got off on the wrong foot, quoting from a letter from a CNN viewer: This […]
Corporate media's preference for"centrism" canoftentranslate intoreporting that casts two sides of a debate as equally belligerent or unwilling to compromise. ABC reporter Jonathan Karl's report yesterday on This Week (4/3/11) offers a perfect example of the absurdity of this worldview. His focuses was on the battle over the federal budget. On one side are Tea Party activists who want deeper spending cuts. Karl notes that this createssome frictionbetween the activists and GOP leaders. Then there's the other side of the debate: KARL: Democrats have their hot heads, too. One Obama administration official said the Republican bill, which cuts $5 billion […]
After Hurricane Katrina, the airwaves were filled with media promises to pay attention to long-neglected stories about poverty and racism. As FAIR documented(Extra!, 9-10/07), that promise didn't amount to much; three years of newscasts(coveringSeptember 2003 through October 2006) provided just 58 stories about poverty. On September 12, ABC World News devoted almost 100 words to the news that, according to anchor Dan Harris: 170,000 families were homeless, rather, in homeless shelters in 2009. That's a 30 percent increase in two years. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau is expected to announce this week that as many as 15 percent of American families […]
Noting how "media have been pelting us with heart-wrenching stories about the neo-suffering of the Nouveau Poor"–"Sales of Gulfstream jets declining!"–Barbara Ehrenreich pretends (Barbara's Blog, 3/12/09) to be "tempted to delete 'class inequality' from my worry list" before doing some actual reporting: But hard times are no more likely to abolish class inequality than Obama's inauguration is likely to eradicate racism. No one actually knows yet whether inequality has increased or decreased during the last year of recession, but the historical precedents are not promising. The economists I've talked to–like Biden's top economic advisor, Jared Bernstein–insist that recessions are particularly […]
Hoping for "a trickle-down of a different sort, of compassion," media writer Edward Wasserman gives his personal take (Miami Herald, 3/16/09) on resurgent media interest in (some) impoverished Americans: My own sense is that, in general, coverage of the poor has been so bad for so long that if indeed there is growing interest in the newly impoverished–even with the undertone of disdain FAIR finds toward other poor people–it's still an improvement. I've followed media treatment of poor people for the past several years as supervisor of a student-run website for journalists, www.onpoverty.org. The site aggregates poverty news from all […]