Thursday, May 30, 2013

Invisible Americans

There are times when we look at the topics our colleagues in the broader media choose to cover, and then look at the topics regular Americans across the nation care about, and we have no trouble at all understanding why some Americans simply ignore news and information-based media.

We can guarantee you that today some in the media will still be talking about Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement that she won't run for re-election in 2014, or how Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has chosen to join the Democratic Party. Likewise, there will still be those trying to stir up ratings with "scandal" stories about Eric Holder or new stories about James Comey, President Obama's nominee to head the FBI.

There may even be a few stories about the economy, though they will likely focus on how a strong stock market and steadily rebounding housing market are helping America's recovery, even in the face of austerity.

What you're far less likely to see - other than here - are stories about how millions of Americans still need decent paying jobs, since both Republicans and Democrats continue to walk away from the issue, a story many in the media still don't find "sexy enough" to cover very often.

You're also unlikely to see piles of stories talking about the still-growing inequality in America, and how tax cuts for the rich actually make it worse. There also aren't many stories about how poor Americans are getting screwed by both Republicans and Democrats as Congress pushes towards gutting food stamps, or about how women are now the primary "breadwinners" in forty percent of American homes - not because they want to be, but often because they have to be.

Don't look for many stories on the sequester either, since statistics say it really hasn't hit DC that hard - or, more specifically, it hasn't hit people who work in the national media in DC, New York, and LA that hard.

We almost feel that the pessimistic opinion a friend of ours has been repeating for several years may be on the verge of coming true: that the news has, in fact, been cancelled.

We're willing to admit that news gathering is incredibly difficult today - especially when blind, ignorant executives in corporate media continue to gut their own companies of the people who actually create the products they're trying to sell.

Further, many of the stories we've referenced above are worthy of reading, both on their own, and as parts of larger narratives about topics like politics, government and the economy.

However, the core of those larger narratives still needs far more reporting, from media organizations much larger and more well-staffed than ours, so that issues like the millions of Americans still out of work won't be ignored by both major political parties. After all, as the Quinnipiac poll released this morning proves, what Americans really care about are jobs and the economy.

It's true that President Obama and Ben Bernanke have done a surprisingly good job keeping the economy moving forward in an incredibly difficult environment - and things are significantly better than they were four years ago.

That said, both major national political parties are still walking away from millions of Americans who are still out of work - and the media isn't paying enough attention either.