The Newspaper Guild/Communication Workers of America released Tuesday a summary report of their new “Labor & Unions in National TV Network News.”
The CWA and Newspaper Guild funded the study directed by Federico Subervi of the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University.
The report is important. There is a big story here: over the past 30 years, public policies have dimmed the prospects for the working class (I use that term expansively – it includes most Americans) and increased the gap between the wealthiest and the rest. This study looks at three recent years – 2008, 2009, and 2011 – years in which the U.S. has struggled with the worst recession since the Great Depression, the years that gave rise to the global Occupy Wall Street movement, and years in which the right has gone after public sector unions with a vengeance.
Yet, the study finds, only 0.3 percent of network TV news in those three years covered labor issues. It’s a direct line from the decline of labor unions and collective bargaining to the decades-long economic slide of American workers, yet few journalists seem to be able to find the narrative thread. >>Read the full post at TalkingBizNews
Tags: Consumerism · Journalism · Journalism Ethics · Labor News · Media Economics · Newspapers · NPR · Occupy Wall Street · Politics · Television News · Working Class
It is no surprise to readers of newspapers – or readers of this blog — that newspapers contain little coverage of labor and working-class economic issues. Although I’d hesitate to say there was ever a “golden era” of labor coverage, there was a time not too long ago when newspapers regularly reported on the activities of labor unions – contract negotiations, strikes, and community activities.
The shift away from more active labor reporting came in the late 1960s, when the newspaper industry started to employ the tools of the growing consumer research industry to target “quality” demographics – that is, more upwardly mobile readers, with higher education and higher incomes. Although we like to think of journalism as a democratic practice, by the 1970s it served only a select group of consumers.
We can track the consumer shift in newspapers in Editor & Publisher, the leading trade journal where newspapers placed advertisements to sell their audience to national advertisers. The main commercial message of U.S. newspapers in the mass-market era of pre-1970s was simple: they had lots of readers who earned good wages in America’s booming industry and could buy advertisers’ products. >> READ MORE of my guest blog in Working-Class Perspectives
Tags: Consumerism · Journalism · Journalism Ethics · Labor News · Media Economics · Newspapers · Politics · Working Class
Let’s take the main idea of the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre seriously (despite his many factual errors): he cites violent video games, movies, and music videos as the real problem of violence in America. America’s top lobbyist for the consumer weapons industry said the following, as a way of explanation a week after a young man with firearms legally obtained by his mother (who he also killed) murdered 26 children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:
“Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography? In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior, and criminal cruelty right into our homes. Every minute, every day, every hour of every single year.”
The media connection (the old hypodermic needle theory of the media’s supremely powerful effects) is, of course, spurious. Millions of people consume this kind of media content and don’t go on a rampage, just as millions have listened to violent fairy tales without committing atrocities. (Try reading Italo Calvino’s incredible collection of Italian folktales, which have plenty of non-CGI violence. Kicking a witch into an oven? Yes!)
But, if you believe LaPierre has a point (“A child growing up in America today witnesses 16,000 murders, and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18,” he added), then you must believe we are a mentally poisoned people — all of us — and we should all be on the list of people unfit to own firearms. (Hey senior citizens — if you think you are exempt because you missed out on video games and music videos, you were already mentally ruined by viewings of The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and years of John Wayne movies.) [Read more →]
Tags: Guns · Journalism Ethics · Politics
“…there’s a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again…and about the time that you’re absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time.”[i] — Frank Luntz, Republican pollster
A comprehensive study analyzes the frequency of the “job killer” term in four mainstream news media since 1984, how the phrase was used, by whom, and—most importantly—whether the allegations of something being a “job killer” were verified by reporters in their stories.
The study’s key findings include the following:
- Media stories with the phrase “job killer” spiked dramatically after Barack Obama was elected president, particularly after he took office. The number of stories with the phrase “job killer” increased by 1,156% between the first three years of the George W. Bush administration (16 “job killer” stories) and the first three years of the Obama administration (201 “job killer” stories).
- The majority of the sources of stories using the phrase “job killer” were business spokepersons and Republican Party officials. Republican officials (41.7%) and business sources (18.6%) were responsible for 60.3% of the “job killer” allegations. In 17% of the stories, news organizations used the phrase in articles and editorials without attributing the phrase to a source. [Read more →]
Tags: Elections · Environment · Journalism · Journalism Ethics · Labor News · Politics