I was listening to a podcast on my way back from CrossFit a couple nights ago when I got so mad I felt like chucking my phone out the window (until I realized this action would have little to no effect on the podcast hosts)!
The episode was by Radiolab and it was titled, “On the Media: Busted, America’s Poverty Myths.” It first aired on January 18, 2017.
Now, I usually really enjoy Radioloab. I respect how much work they invest into every episode to make it a great listing experience and they usually practice good journalistic standards.
But not this time.
(Note: I should point out that this episode was not one of their projects. Sometimes they feature other podcast personalities on their show. This one featured On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone. Gladstone wanted to promote her 5-part series called “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths.”)
The premise of Gladstone’s argument was basically that the American Dream is a lie and the truth is that most people never change their income level. So if your poor stop listening to all this “you can do better if you just work hard” propaganda because you should just give up. It’s hopeless.
She didn’t say it in those exact words, but pretty close. Listen to it yourself here.
One of the “stats” she used to validate her point was when Jad, one of Radiolab’s hosts, asked Gladstone, “What percentage of Americans throughout the course of their life actually do better?”
Gladstone answered, “Ah, the way that you measure this generally is, ‘how many people go from the bottom of the 5th income bracket to the top. And for America, on average it’s about 7.5%.”
But that’s so misleading to present the “facts” like that.
Why? Because that’s an extreme case for someone to go from the bottom to the top. Instead, why doesn’t she share the fact that 56% of the people in the lowest 5th raise out of that bracket?
Probably because 56% does not sound as good as 7.5%.
Ah, this type of crap drives me crazy!
It’s far easier to blame your problems on “the system” than to take responsibility for your own life.
This worldview pushes the victim mentality on anyone who wants to change their social class. If you’re poor, give up because there’s nothing you can do.
It’s a bunch of crap. And I hope more people see through these lies.