Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Not News, It's CNN!

Author's note: this post was originally going to appear at Mazurland, but Marty's most recent post (which I saw as I was visiting the site to write the post) got me so ass-about-face that I decided to put it here instead. Take THAT!

So CNN presumably tells a reporter that they really want to drive home the story that the economy is in the tank, and the average American is totally screwed, redeemable only by the Obamessiah and his forthcoming Socialist New World Order "jobs program". Said reporter then probably decides that trying to find a nice sad-sack sob story of someone who lost their job because of the terrible economy, and is forced to subsist on meager government assistance and ramen noodles while they fruitlessly search for nonexistent jobs would be the best way to go about this. Typical awesome "journalism" that you might learn in a fancy college program that no lousy plumber could ever hope to accomplish, to be sure.

Anywho, said CNN reporter, a dynamo by the name of Jim Spellman, goes out and finds one Laura Glick, who the lede indicates was earning "six figures" before the downturn and now is hoping to get by on a "$7/hr job". But the devil, as they say, is in the details. The first flag to be raised: what was this magical job? She was a mortgage broker.

This should pretty much end the story right there. So somebody who made a lot of money during an economic boom which was based on unsound and predatory lending practices... made that money lending that very same money? And I'm supposed to feel sorry that the boom is over and she's out of a job?

But it gets better. In her misery, she has been without a job for seven months. Seven months! Why, because no one will pay her six figures to put people in homes they don't deserve and can't afford? I can understand the shock of finding your industry obsolete, but seriously, does it take you seven months to realize that "any job" is better than "no job"?

Oh, and she's on government assistance. $1400/month, apparently, in Colorado somewhere. I lived in Seattle-freakin'-Washington not THAT long ago on $1200/month. I paid my rent, I ate my food, I managed all my own personal expenses for that amount. Maybe rent has gone up, but maybe she's living beyond her means, meager though they may be.

And how has this downturn in her life impacted her lifestyle? From the article: "To get by she has stopped eating out, given up cigarettes and has stopped taking her pets to the vet for regular checkups." Well holy crap on a crap cracker, we've really hit rock bottom when we have to stop taking our pets to the vet for regular checkups!!! And notice the plural: how much better would you get by without paying for their food every month? And cigarettes? Not your precious life-shortening heavily taxed drug of choice, no! How on earth will you get by with healthier breathing, a longer lifespan, and a cleaner bloodstream? And the poor, poor woman, as if her pink lungs and unmonitored pet-health weren't a steep-enough price to pay -- now she can no longer afford to pay someone else to cook her meals for her! Oh tragedy of tragedies, the economy has truly sunk lower than the greatest of all depressions!

Seriously, CNN. If you're going to continue to peddle the doom-and-gloom (presumably to make way for the all-hail-the-Barachrist story on the first faint sign of an economic uptick), at least try. Maybe you can find a family that actually had to sell their SUVs, or move to a house that has fewer bedrooms than occupants, or something. But trying to make me feel sorry for a woman who was the cause of the problem in the first place, and got screwed? Not gonna work.

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Anonymous Marty said...

Ben, your lack of sensitivity astounds me! We're talking about a single working woman here, aren't we? Do you think she worked her mercenary job by choice? So, of course she was deserving of special consideration. And no doubt her pets are cats, her quantum of solace in this cold, cruel, Bush-defiled world!

Seriously, though, when this recession started 24-7ing on the news, I was hearing the man-in-the-street-of-New York, how-are-you-cutting-back interviews. It seemed that most of the people being interviewed were living beyond their means in the first place, or being paid way too much. One woman had to give up her personal trainer. Take fewer vacations. Drop her cooking classes. She's saving a couple thousand or so a month. Man, for me to save that much, I'd have live at your house and tell my kids they have to pay for their own college!

9:03 PM  

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