What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 20, 2011

Missed This Yesterday - The Trib Tribs Again

I ended a post yesterday (a post that pointed out, yet again, how the Tribune-Review's editorial board casually omits their owner's financial entanglements with the think tanks it cites) with this:
Another lesson in how the right wing media functions.
It's one thing to see such tribbing on the editorial page.

It's another to see it in the paper's news section.

This is what I missed yesterday.  It's a piece by Jeremy Boren and Jason Cato and it's about poverty in America.  In positing an opposing point of view, Boren and Cato wrote:
As the figures grow, the face of poverty is changing to include more suburbanites and young, able-bodied people such as Jones who want to work but are having trouble finding jobs as unemployment hovers nationally at 9.1 percent.

Views of poverty also are being challenged.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, riled poverty advocates with a July report from researcher Robert Rector that said most poor people are not huddling in shacks or waiting in soup kitchen lines.

Instead, Rector wrote, 80 percent of poor people have air conditioning; 92 percent have a microwave; almost 66 percent have satellite TV; nearly 75 percent have a car; and more than half have Xbox or PlayStation game consoles in their homes.

The report said 96 percent of poor parents said their children did not go hungry in 2009 despite the recession.

"It's meant to remind people how really well-off the people in the bottom quintile are," said Edwin Feulner, president of the foundation.
I am sure you know where this is going.

Do I need to remind Messers Boren and Cato that their boss, Richard Mellon Scaife is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Heritage Foundation?  The same boss that's given millions to the Heritage Foundation?

Do I need to remind Messers Boren and Cato that Ed Feulner, defender of the above mentioned Rector Report has a weekly column at the very same newspaper they write for?

Or that Mr Rector wrote a column on this subject in their very newspaper only a few months ago?

Surely I do not need to remind either of them of their paper's owner's financial connections to the sources they cite, do I?  Perhaps I do.  Perhaps they, in fact, didn't know any of this all too easily found information.  Perhaps, had their audience known of those connections it would, again perhaps, undermine the credibility of their piece.

Why else wouldn't they mention them?

And THAT, my friends, is how the right wing noise machine works.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

If you are Jeremy Boren and Jason Cato, working for the Tribune Review, and you decide to/are assigned to write a story about poverty in this area, you know there are going to be certain strictures guiding what you write. So early in the story is the information and views of the Heritage Foundation, possibly put in because an editor told them to put it in. Without the Heritage Foundation input there, I suspect the Trib would receive angry letters to the editor.

Still, I think Boren and Cato effectively counter the Heritage Foundation arguments with statements from local poverty and hunger advocates. You may say that some newly poor people are not that bad off because they still have TV's and air conditioners from when they had jobs. But Boren and Cato effectively make the case that reality is that more and more people in this area are losing jobs (with the corresponding loss in income) and that not many of the unemployed are able to find jobs.

Still, with this kind of story, conservatives win whether you make the case that the poor are fakers or whether they are actually really poor. Either way, conservatives can blame Obama and the Democrats. Although you could say that by presenting concrete examples of local poverty, Boren and Cato make an implicit case that somebody needs to help the poor. That in turn could be seen as supporting Obama's jobs bill (or, unfortunately, further spending reductions to effect more deficit reduction).