America’s Invisible Working Class

This is a repost of a piece written for Bleeding Heartland, July 31, 2019

In this essay adapted from his book No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class, Christopher Martin notes that “the whole of the working class is hardly ever presented or imagined by the U.S. news media,” and that Donald Trump benefits from how the media typically cover labor issues. -promoted by Laura Belin

Trump walks through Carrier plant.
President-elect Donald Trump walks through the Carrier plant, Indianapolis, Dec. 1, 2016

Three weeks after his surprising victory on election day, November 8, 2016, Donald Trump had what might be known one day as the best day of his presidency. And with his swearing-in ceremony still weeks away, he wasn’t officially even president yet.

On November 29, Trump confidently tweeted hints of a dramatic conclusion to reports that he had been in discussion with executives at Carrier Corporation in Indiana to save hundreds of jobs that were scheduled to be exported to a new assembly facility in Mexico: “I will be going to Indiana on Thursday to make a major announcement concerning Carrier A.C. staying in Indianapolis. Great deal for workers!”

That Thursday, December 1, Trump arrived in Indianapolis. The video, which was frequently replayed in TV news stories, shows him among more than twenty men in suits, striding triumphantly through the Carrier furnace assembly floor with his black overcoat and too-long red tie. Trump took the platform in front of a white backdrop dotted with oval blue Carrier logos and announced he was saving a lot of jobs: “Actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great.”

Although Trump has been quick to blast the mainstream news media as “fake news” whenever it does not serve his interests, he has greatly benefited from two problematic ways in which the news has recently and historically framed its coverage of the working class. <<Continue the story on Bleeding Heartland>>