Media And Workers
May 10, 2019 11:08 AM   Subscribe

“As to how a changing business model has served to disempower and erase the American working class, Martin posits that a shift in the 1960s and 1970s towards an advertising model aimed at an upscale middle-class readership is the primary culprit. With the rise of television, the newspaper industry grew ever more consolidated and concerned with addressing and reflecting the interests and lifestyles of a predominantly middle-class audience. ” The Real Working Class Is Invisible In The Media (Jacobin) “There is a solution, however, and it’s something that the devils in the corner office would never have dreamed of allowing to happen (they got mad enough when we started unionizing everything). In my estimation, the only true way forward for digital media is to blow it all up, and start again. It’s time for the fourth estate to seize the means of production.” (Commune)
posted by The Whelk (8 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Jr Robots likes Anyone here have an opinion?
posted by No Robots at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2019

Isn't your pay on Medium (and how much they promote your articles) determined by an opaque, automated measure of "engagement"? It seems like that would give you similar distorting pressures as traditional media, if not worse because you can't appeal to the values of a human editor to promote something unpopular but necessary.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:33 PM on May 10, 2019

Off topic, but thanks The Whelk for your regular posts on workers and socialism. Often people let their hobby horse rule them, and the quality of their conversation/posts suffers, but your links are routinely interesting and almost always something I haven’t seen elsewhere.
posted by bystander at 5:26 PM on May 10, 2019 [16 favorites]

Something I've been thinking about lately is that there is no broad organization representing labor interests in the U.S.

There's the AFL-CIO, but they represent *organized* labor, which is a minority. If you go to their website trying to get involved, they will tell you to organize your workplace, which isn't an achievable goal for many.

And there are coalitions that come together for issues like minimum wage and parental leave, but there's no group that's the voice of American labor the way groups like the ACLU, AARP or NRA fight for their causes.
posted by smelendez at 8:15 PM on May 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

A few months ago a friend linked to an episode of "Laverne and Shirley," a TV sitcom that was before my time. I only knew the title.

The title characters have a job together in a brewery, and the title sequence shows beer bottles moving around on heavy factory machinery.

I can't think of a modern mainstream television show where characters work at a factory and the factory actually appears on-screen. That segment of Americana is just ... missing ... from my media diet. This post suggests that I'm not alone.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 11:55 PM on May 11, 2019

Thanks for this, The Whelk. I was working my way through old newspapers recently for some rabbit trail my brain conjured up, and I was struck by how much is gone now.

Though maybe its replaced by an expanding informal economy. A friend in an accident recently might have once upon a time put the car as-is in the newspaper, but instead, on the shared ride with me from school to work, used her phone to What's App several people in the Bahamas and arrange for its sale and shipment to there, so she could focus on replacing her vehicle.

Twenty years ago that might have happened through letters or an intermediary here in the states, and she did it on her smartphone. Before the accident, she'd already had a couple of bids for the car in fully running condition ... a car she posted online using her phone instead of placing a paid ad in a weekly Thrifty Nickel or Penny Saver.''
posted by tilde at 10:37 AM on May 13, 2019

the 'Middle class' is a myth
posted by The Whelk at 1:10 AM on May 15, 2019

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