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August 29, 2011

NYT Columnist Nick Kristof Suddenly Realizes That Unemployment Is Really Bad; Wonders Why The Media Haven't Fully Explored This Issue

I have discussed this again and again. The media is biased. You knew that.

But they are specifically biased in several ways: For one thing, anyone working in the media, by definition, has a job.

So they don't personally experience this in the first place. Sure, the media is laying off people left and right, but those people don't have jobs anymore, and hence, do not write stories for the major media any longer.

I guess Kristof might have heard of such people, at least, but that doesn't seem to have impacted him.

Add to that the fact that they only cover bad economic news when a Republican is President (or Governor, etc.), and this all adds up to a colossal blind spot for them, partly circumstantial, but largely by design.

Well, Nick Kristof suddenly realizes Wow, things are hard out there as far as jobs, huh?

As my Sunday column appears, I’ll be in transit to Libya, insha’allah. But this column grew out of my family vacation this summer back in Yamhill, Oregon, where I grew up. Like everyone in journalism, I had been focused on the debt ceiling debates, but what I saw in Yamhill was a different economic scourge: unemployment. It really puzzles me that 25 million Americans could be unemployed or under-employed, and yet the issue has never really gotten much traction.

The deuce you say! Hasn't gotten traction?

Could that possibly be because the media chooses to downplay a 9.1% unemployment (17% real unemployment) rate under Obama, while it cried "jobless recovery" when Bush had a 5.5% unemployment rate?

In the last month or two, it has gained more visibility and President Obama says he is pivoting to jobs — but none of the proposals on the agenda come close to matching the severity of the unemployment picture.

Notice the flight to the passive voice here. The issue "has gained more visibility."

There is an actor here; that actor is the media. It has remained silent as churchmouse about this for two years (it initially reported job losses when they could be blamed on Bush, then stopped).

And why is it now "gaining more visiblity"? Only because the President is being forced, by the public (not the media coverage), to "pivot" to joblessness for the seventh, or eleventh, time, depending on how you count.


The first commenter gets it right:

It seems astonishing that journalists in the beltway can go years without comprehending just what's going on in this country. I read column and news story after column and news story about process and little about the effect of policies on people.

You are right. You are partially to bame. You've been on vacation and you've noticed what's going on. Now you're heading overseas and it's a good bet that you will not soon revisit the issues in your column.

I understand. There's a category one hurricane or maybe a snowstorm that inconveniences the beltway. We know what's really important, don't we?

Damn. Nice.

Thanks to WilliamY.

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posted by Ace at 05:40 PM

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