The corporate lobbyists who want to pass the Simpson Bowles plan to lower the corporate tax rate and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits have far too many allies in Washington. But they also have found a powerful ally on TV: the network CNBC.
The station has given repeated positive coverage to the plan, and frequently features corporate CEOs to praise its features. Here’s one measure of just how skewed CNBC’s priorities have become.
I ran a media search on the term “poverty” during all of CNBC’s coverage during the past month. The term was mentioned 31 times, often in the context of international poverty (for example, talking about Mexico’s drug war). I then searched for “Simpson Bowles.” It was mentioned a whopping 116 times — almost 3 times as often.
CNBC is even more tilted than the traditionally right-wing Fox News. On Fox, Simpson Bowles was mentioned 59 times, and poverty was mentioned 100 times over the same period.
Out of all major cable news networks, MSNBC did the best in balancing out mentions of Simpson Bowles (70) with mentions of poverty (124). CNN had 72 mentions of the former and 111 of the latter.
Recall that CNBC stands for “Consumer News and Business Channel.” With its embrace of Simpson Bowles and its downplaying of the concerns of ordinary consumers — like poverty — it is failing to live up to its title, and is slowly simply becoming a channel of Big Business.
(Photo credit: Flickr user psd)
The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has put out a new report that looks at the national media’s coverage of poverty in the United States.
FAIR looked at six months of campaign media coverage — starting on January 1st and ending on June 23rd — on eight news outlets: CBS Evening News, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, PBS NewsHour, NPR’s All Things Considered, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek.
It found that “just 17 of the 10,489 campaign stories studied (0.2 percent) addressed poverty in a substantive way.”
As we covered here recently, a fifth of American children live in poverty. Now we know in even greater detail how the facts about those children and other impoverished Americans aren’t getting out in the media and the bloodstream of the political debate of the election.
Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new report titled Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011. The report has some shocking statistics about how much work must be done to ensure a strong and secure middle class in the United States.
The Economic Policy Institute used the Census data to put together its own report that contextualizes some of this data. Here’s some important facts from their report, titled State of Working America:
- Nearly A Fifth Of American Children Are In Poverty: The report finds that 21.9 percent of children under the age of 18 are in poverty (the poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,811).
- Millions of Americans Depend On Social Security To Be Kept Out Of Poverty: EPI estimates that 21.4 million Americans were kept out of poverty thanks to this social insurance program.
- Unemployment Insurance Is Keeping Millions Out Of Poverty: 2.3 million people kept out of poverty in 2011 by unemployment insurance.
- Incomes Fell For Many Middle Class People From 2010 to 2011: There was a negative 1.7 percent change in average household income between 2010 and 2011 for the middle 20 percent of earners. Meanwhile, the top 5 percent saw a gain of 5.1 percent.
Read the full report here.