Framing the Dialogue

A Growing Ignorance

jobless menThe headline of the article in today’s paper was “A Growing Hunger” with a subheadline of “While jobless rates plummet, the opposite can be said of the number of people in need of food assistance.” [you can view the article here]

I will stipulate that this article was written about the growing need for many families still feeling the pinch of Obama’s recession.  I know that the article isn’t about how there really is not a recovery.  There is even mention of that;

“It doesn’t feel like the economy’s improving…It feels like it’s getting worse.” 

Two of the main points of the article just don’t match up for the author, but other than a mention, she doesn’t delve into the facts;

“Jobless rates have plummeted since the 2008-09 downturn, from 9.3 percent in Pennsylvania in July 2010 to 5.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s slightly better in the seven-county Pittsburgh metro area, where unemployment is 5.2 percent. Hiring is accelerating nationwide.”

Doesn’t quite align with;

“social service agencies that provide emergency assistance for food, shelter, utilities and housing are reporting upticks in demand…Our numbers have been astronomical,” said Tracy Frank, executive director of The Brashear Association, a Pittsburgh nonprofit that has logged a 20 percent increase in demand for its twice-weekly food distributions since this time last year.”

Perhaps, just perhaps the statistics don’t tell the whole story?  I don’t know the politics of the writer, but she does a disservice to her readers when she doesn’t mention that the unemployment numbers are down mostly because so many people, fellow American citizens have simply given up looking for work.  Even with fewer jobs available the stats look better when you take away millions and millions who have just given up.  That’s a factor in why the uptick in demand for assistance.  In the author’s defense she did mention that many of the new jobs touted by Obama are lower wage jobs;

 “The majority of the new people that do come are the working poor,” Miller said. “They are people who have a part-time or full-time job who either aren’t able to make ends meet or have just become new single heads of household for whatever reason.”

Call me old fashioned, but I think one of the “Free Press'” responsibilities is to inform and educate.  This article failed in that mission.

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