Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bigfoot-ing The Facts

Even while our staff members were cheering Wednesday - both for the Olympics and for the legal decision blocking the Keystone pipeline in Nebraska -  we once again noticed a disappointing media phenomenon.

Facts are like Bigfoot to those in the right wing media today. To them, facts don't exist, and even if facts do walk right up and introduce themselves, the right-wing ideologues who work in so-called conservative media don't believe any facts they don't like.

That much was blisteringly clear on Wednesday, as the right-wing dominated media crowed about only a small part of the latest report by the CBO, on how a nationwide minimum wage hike would really affect the economy in America. Of course, if anyone at Fox or at any of the right-wing radio talk shows had any intellectual integrity, they would have also mentioned what we and others pointedly noted Wednesday: That the CBO also said raising the minimum wage would generate little to no negative effect on the numbers of jobs lost, while creating a $2 billion boost to the U.S. economy.

That's a mighty big fact for any legitimate media organization to overlook - a fact that proves how illegitimate many right-wing media organizations really are.

For those people who believe that actions speak louder than words, they needed only to look at the actions of major U.S. clothing retailer Gap, Inc. on Wednesday, when they announced they will raise their hourly minimum wage companywide to $10 per hour. 65,000 U.S. workers will be earning more money for the work they do, a major change that earned the retail giant an official statement of support from President Obama.

As Aviva Shen pointed out on Wednesday, other major brands like Costco, Whole Foods, and In-N-Out Burger have already done the same. While Wal-Mart now denies rumors that popped up Wednesday that they might join that group of respectable companies, that there were even legitimate rumors that Wal-Mart might join the ranks of employers who provide a living wage is a very good sign indeed.

As Lydia Depillis at The Washington Post noted, it makes solid business sense for Wal-Mart to support a higher minimum wage for a very simple reason: Some of Wal-Mart's most reliable customers are their own employees. If Wal-Mart's workers had more money in their paychecks, they'd spend more of it in their own stores. As Depillis noted, it wouldn't even be out of character for Wal-Mart to do, as the massive retailer backed a significant minimum wage hike just seven years ago.

Our key gripe with how the right-wing media handled the CBO study isn't that they pointed out some jobs may be lost. The CBO themselves made that fact clear from the moment they released their study.

No, our problem is that the coverage of this important piece of news was so incredibly slanted that anyone who only paid attention to the right-wing media would be misinformed about what Americans clearly recognize as the biggest problem our nation now has.

Maybe that's why we were so excited when we heard that the FCC appears to be going ahead with their nationwide multi-market study of America's "Critical Information Needs", the so-called CIN Study. In short, the FCC is finally going to investigate if there's a serious bias problem in our American media - and if so, how they can fix it.

That's the kind of monster investigation we think should have been done in the media long ago - a sizable action we don't think the right-wing will be able to deny the existence of.