Sunday, April 29, 2012

Media redefines working class for political gain

Did you know I'm too poor to be working-class? I am according to The Media.

Official statistical compilations redefine "suburban" to include small cities that are inner-city in character, just because they adjoin a larger city. This seems to be an effort to make suburban America appear more populous - which in turn sounds like an attempt to justify politicians' disproportionate appeal to suburbia. Similarly, The Media has now taken to redefining "working-class."

I became suspicious when I saw an article that said Republicans carried white working-class voters in 2008 - an overpoweringly Democratic year - and in every other presidential election since the '60s. But reading further, I discovered that the economic range of this "working class" excludes zillions of folks who everybody would agree ought to be included.

In The Media's funhouse mirror world, "working-class" includes only those with annual incomes between $30,000 and $75,000. It's hard for me to envision someone who makes $75,000 as anything except upper-middle-class, since that's twice what the average family in Bellevue makes. More significant though is the fact that The Media's "working class" actually excludes people who make under $30,000.

By that definition, most working-class Americans regardless of color are no longer even counted as working-class!

It appears as if President Obama really won white working-class voters - if you modify this demographic to include those making less than $30,000 but exclude those near the upper end of the pollsters' definition. The local election map bears this out - and I've seen it on the ground too. This group seems to be more favorable to Obama in urban areas than in the countryside, but the point stands.

Anyone can conclude from this that working-class Americans of all races consider the Republican Party to be political poison. But I've known that for decades, as the GOP has been openly hostile to working families.

A more important conclusion here though is that it looks as if The Media is trying to redefine the economic range of "working-class" to boost its own Republican agenda. There's several wrinkles to this. For starts, it makes the working class appear to be to the political right of where it really is. Furthermore, it pits the working class against itself. Finally, by excluding people with lower incomes from being called working-class, The Media tries to create the impression that the poorest Americans have no use for work. What if we make less than $30,000? Must be due to our own sloth, according to the right-wing press. So we don't count.

Wasn't America built by some of the nation's poorest? Next time you drive on a bridge or visit a downtown building, consider this: Those who lifted the piers into place or installed the drywall were not billionaires. There's a damn good chance they made only a pittance. People have died for better labor standards. To insult the industriousness of the poor is grave indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment