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Establishment Media “Whitewash” Working Class in Midterm Election Coverage

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When covering the results of the 2018 midterm elections, the establishment media consistently misrepresent the working class, according to a report by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) from November 2018. Specifically, FAIR reports that news reports on the impact of the working class on midterm elections “distorts the composition of this class, racially and otherwise,” by overemphasizing white men who work in industrial jobs, a group that constitutes just 11 percent of the working class. This “misrepresentation of working-class whiteness,” FAIR reports, “extends to discussion of the voting habits of organized labor.”

News coverage that equates white men in industrial jobs with the working class, in turn, perpetuates the Trump administration’s preferred narrative of a white working class as the president’s “core” supporters. FAIR reports how this frame has led representatives of the Democratic Party to shift to right “on social issues in order to gain support from the working class”

In the current environment, the FAIR report concludes, “it is imperative to remain wary of themes in media which whitewash the working class, render working people of color invisible and encourage the perception that racial and economic justice are at odds.”

Source:  John McCullough, “When Media Say ‘Working Class,’ They Don’t Necessarily Mean Workers-but They Do Mean White,” FAIR, November 13, 2018, https://fair.org/home/when-media-say-working-class-they-dont-necessarily-mean-workers-but-they-do-mean-white/.

Student Researcher: Colton Hester (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D Cohen (Indian River State College)

Daniel Christof

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