Saturday, February 4, 2012

The media's "very poor" reporting

“Migrant Mother,” 1936 (Dorothea Lange, photographer).
Library of Congress FSA/OWI Collection.
  The media conveniently  

fails to report the real poverty in America today that rivals the Great Depression.

By Mary Claire Kendall

Here we go again.  Former Governor Mitt Romney says something that can be misinterpreted but, within the context of what he’s been saying for months, most assuredly cannot.  

No matter. The press keeps bird-dogging him—like a little girl in a school yard who catches her friend in a flub and mercilessly taunts her.

Of course, this is actually a good sign. If he wasn’t on his way to winning the Republican presidential nomination, they would not care what he says!  

But, ho hum, this time the hullaballoo is “concerned” with Romney’s statement in an early morning CNN interview the day after his landslide win in the Sunshine State that he’s “not concerned about” the “very poor.”  They have a safety net to provide them with food, health care, and income support. Rather it’s the “middle class” he’s “concerned about” given their dismal condition in the Obama economy, with nowhere to turn.

Perfectly reasonable. Except for the fact that “concerned about” can be conflated with “care about.”  Many in the media have even taken to claiming falsely that Romney, in fact, said he did not “care about” the “very poor.” Even Newt Gingrich chimed in, falsely claiming that what Romney actually said was “I don’t really care about the very poor.”  (I seem to remember Newt saying he’d “tell the truth.”) 

The irony, of course, is that Gov. Romney began the interview by stating clearly, “I’m in this race because I care about Americans.” That would encompass all 300 million plus—very poor, very rich and everyone in between.

Can you believe that in a country where 1 out of 3 working adults are on food stamps, the median income keeps going down, down, down, college kids can’t find summer work in numbers not seen since records were kept, we’re actually worried that Mitt Romney’s shorthand business-speak could be misconstrued?

Nonetheless, Governor Romney clarified what he meant in an interview with John Ralston, political columnist for the Las Vegas Sun. He “misspoke,” he said. What he intended to say, as he’s said countless times, is that he’s focused on the middle class so that not only will they stay there but more will join their ranks—some even moving further up the wealth scale.  

And, if anyones focused, its Mitt Romney. And, good that he is—because if the middle class expands, it will redound to everyone’s benefit, including the poor. The greatly diminished middle class purchasing power is wreaking havoc across-the-board, whereas an increase in this power would have a salutary effect on the economy—to say nothing of all the other positive outcomes a booming middle class would have on our nation, where, in many communities, there’s suffering reminiscent of the Great Depression.  Yet the media conveniently overlooks this real story—accepting on blind faith that unemployment is going down—irrespective of the far-harsher underlying reality, as Joseph Curl writes in “Obama’s made-up jobless numbers.” 

Where are the photos, such as Dorothea Lange’s famous Depression-era Migrant Mother, that capture just how bad it is out there in Obama’s America?  If the media would just cover the real hardship faced by American families in Obama’s economy, we’d figure out in a nanosecond just how fake those job numbers are. 

But no, the media prefers covering Mitt Romney’s alleged callous words, while staying mum on the actual impact of Obama’s misguided policies—his deeds.

Class dismissed. Though something tells me the media will keep flunking this one.

Updated: February 7, 2012.

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