Monday, May 14, 2018

On the Media on the Poverty Myths

I haven't had time to listen to it yet, but the little part I heard of yesterday's On the Media episode made me want to give it some time.

This is the way they wrote it up for their website:

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016, we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series.

1. Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted, on the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech, former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for covering inequality stymies our discourse around poverty.

2. Jill Lepore, historian and staff writer for the New Yorker, on the long history of America's beloved "rags to riches" narrative and Natasha Boyer, a Ohio woman whose eviction was initially prevented thanks to a generous surprise from strangers, on the reality of living in poverty and the limitations of "random acts of kindness."

3. Brooke [Gladstone, cohost] considers the myth of meritocracy and how it obscures the reality: that one's economic success is more due to luck than motivation. 
I'm looking forward to hearing it. The three stories listed above can be listened to as one episode or separately here.

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