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  • Sylvia Moore 3:23 pm on September 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , homeless, homelessness, , Los Angeles, , middle class, , Skid Row, , unemployment   

    BBC World News Documents the Homeless in Los Angeles 

    If only local TV news stations would do more stories like the one below. The broadcast, from BBC World News America, reports on how homeless shelters in Skid Row are now charging some residents a small fee to stay. The report focuses an issue that needs more attention: the formerly middle class. It’s frustrating that I have to watch a foreign news agency to get information about the desperation going on in my own back yard. Click on the image below to watch the story:

  • Sylvia Moore 12:38 pm on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , business, class, , , , , ktla, , , , , , SEIU, , unemployment, , workers   

    Janitors Protest: A Rally Against Economic Injustice or A Public Nuisance? 

    Last Thursday, hundreds of activists staged a protest in Century City outside of the JP Morgan Chase-owned Century Plaza building in support of 16 janitors who were laid off in a company cost-cutting move. The Service Employees International Union organized the demonstration, including a hunger strike – part of a series of actions that ended on Friday. Thirteen protesters were arrested after they sat down in the middle of a street intersection in an act of civil disobedience.

    These protests were just the latest expression of outrage among the working classes across the country, who have suffered massive job losses and wage stagnation, while failing bank behemoths who wrecked the economy got bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars. The day of the janitors action, I wondered how much local news coverage it would get – if any at all. The protest did get the media’s attention, probably more so because of what it did (caused traffic jams), rather than what it represented (economic inequality and distress).

    All five major local news stations – CBS2/KCAL9, NBC4, ABC7, FOX11 and KTLA – had stories about the protest. Most had videos on their web sites, along with a print version. NBC4 was the only site without video, but you can read its account here. What was fascinating was the different tone each newscast took, what they chose to focus on and whom they chose to interview.

    KTLA’s coverage was by far the absolute worst in terms of corporate bias and tone. The narrative was just downright snarky. The station, which is owned by the struggling Tribune Co. (parent of the Los Angeles Times), broadcast two reports – one during the actual protest, and a longer report later on. Most of the focus was on how motorists were inconvenienced, and less on the grievances of the protesters. It’s as if the producers were more concerned about wealthy entertainment and banking executives who work at Century Plaza being aggravated, rather than whether the janitors were getting a raw deal. Watch the broadcasts below:

    Vodpod videos no longer available.
    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    FOX 11 was more sympathetic to the janitors, choosing to focus on a woman who participated in the hunger strike. But inexplicably, the focus then turned to an interview with TV sports commentator and former basketball star, John Salley. Salley just happened to be in the area, but what does the point of view of an athletic personality add to the story?

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    ABC7 and CBS2/KCAL9 did the best in terms of fairness and tone. Each station interviewed more of the protesters, in addition to obtaining statements in response from the janitorial firm. It was good to see that both broadcasts allowed the participants to clearly get their messages across, and that both noted the rally was peaceful. Interestingly, though, ABC7 chose to talk to the police, whereas CBS2/KCAL9 did not. CBS2 doesn’t allow for video embeds on blogs, so you can watch the video by clicking here. The ABC7 video is below:

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    It was great to see a workers protest covered in the news and across multiple outlets. Labor news gets short shrift in the mainstream press nowadays. But I wonder: Would the media have showed up at all if no one was blocking the streets?

  • tapia17 6:30 pm on May 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , unemployment   

    Update on Unemployment Benefits Extension 

    It looks like more people have been paying attention to this than I thought. Too bad the only one ignoring the issue is the Mainstream Media. A petition at Change.org, scolding the Senate and advocating for the addition of a Fifth Tier of benefits has gone viral, and now has more than 26,000 signatures. If you would like to add your name, please go to http://www.change.org/petitions/view/the_99ers_need_a_tier_v_added_to_unemployment_benefits. The sooner the better.

  • tapia17 8:20 am on May 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , unemployment   

    The Senate Pulled a Fast One on the Unemployed in April 

    For anyone who thinks the Senate came to the rescue of unemployed Americans this spring, especially the long-term, guess again. In April there was a lot of attention paid to them extending unemployment benefits. However, they did NOT extend benefits by creating a new tier (Tier V), but only extended the filing deadline for already existing tiers to May 20. What this means is anyone who exhausts either their state benefits or one of the tiers before May 2o, may ONLY get another extension. Unless the deadline for that extension is extended, once that tier is exhausted, it is OVER No mas, and I’m not quoting Roberto Duran.

    Never mind my feelings about how the Senate doesn’t blink an eye to save Wall Street or Corporations (don’t get me started). What we need now is action, and I am urging anyone who is interested in supporting the backbone of our country — our people — to contact their Senators and Congressional Representative to urge them to do something about this.

    At the very least, the filing extension deadline should be extended into fall, but what would really be helpful would be to do that and add a 20week tier, so we can get through this year, still in our homes.

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