If you read Real Change, you’re probably well attuned to the mainstream media and its slanted reporting on poverty. But a new study from a New York nonprofit called Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) shows just how slanted it is.
From Sept. 11, 2003 to Oct. 30, 2006, FAIR monitored the coverage of poverty on the nightly news programs of three networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — adding up a total of 58 stories. That compares with 69 stories covering the Michael Jackson trial, in a time period, no less, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
The networks often allowed Katrina’s survivors to speak for themselves and the causes of their condition. Otherwise, FAIR says, reporters used the poor as props before turning largely to white commentators. Out of 190 sources, 114 did not live in poverty — and 79 percent of them were white.
“Poor people were mainly included only to tell anecdotal stories of suffering, before the networks turned to ‘experts’ who discussed what policies should be pursued to address the situation,” FAIR says.
The full report, which has more breakdowns of who got on the air and why, is available at www.fair.org.
It seems redundant to have to pass a law twice. But in the battle between the mayor and City Council over Seattle’s public defense services, that’s exactly what’s happened.
On Sept. 10, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to affirm an existing city law that limits the city’s public defenders to 380 cases a year. The move is a response to a city audit that showed the city had failed to correct excess caseloads, leaving some attorneys unable to adequately prepare to represent indigent clients in misdemeanor city cases.
The council also amended the law to create an independent, seven-member panel that will make recommendations to the city on contract proposals from the Associated Counsel for the Accused and other nonprofit law firms that provide such services. The amendment takes direct aim at Mayor Nickels, who said last month that he had appointed his own selection panel.
If the mayor doesn’t veto the legislation, it will take effect in mid-October.
Frozen foods bound for Asia were the focal point of a labor-backed shutdown of the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 46 on Monday, Sept. 10, as Washington Jobs with Justice blocked the entrance to the 88-acre terminal and ILWU members stood idle. The shutdown was aimed at the Seattle-based National Frozen Foods Corporation, which workers say has illegally cut short contract negotiations at a Chehalis manufacturing plant.