America’s invisible working class

In this essay adapted from his book No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class, Christopher Martin notes that “the whole of the working class is hardly ever presented or imagined by the U.S. news media,” and that Donald Trump benefits from how the media typically cover labor issues. -promoted by Laura Belin

Three weeks after his surprising victory on election day, November 8, 2016, Donald Trump had what might be known one day as the best day of his presidency. And with his swearing-in ceremony still weeks away, he wasn’t officially even president yet.

On November 29, Trump confidently tweeted hints of a dramatic conclusion to reports that he had been in discussion with executives at Carrier Corporation in Indiana to save hundreds of jobs that were scheduled to be exported to a new assembly facility in Mexico: “I will be going to Indiana on Thursday to make a major announcement concerning Carrier A.C. staying in Indianapolis. Great deal for workers!”

That Thursday, December 1, Trump arrived in Indianapolis. The video, which was frequently replayed in TV news stories, shows him among more than twenty men in suits, striding triumphantly through the Carrier furnace assembly floor with his black overcoat and too-long red tie. Trump took the platform in front of a white backdrop dotted with oval blue Carrier logos and announced he was saving a lot of jobs: “Actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great.”

Although Trump has been quick to blast the mainstream news media as “fake news” whenever it does not serve his interests, he has greatly benefited from two problematic ways in which the news has recently and historically framed its coverage of the working class. First, the news media usually look at the working class only through the lens of a political news story, not through the lens of a labor or workplace story. Second, the news media typically consider the “working class” not in its entirety, but just in the stereotypical white male form, which nicely serves the purposes of divisive politicians who seek to exploit this image and divide working-class people on every other dimension: race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and citizenship.

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IA-04: Joni Ernst's neutrality hurts Randy Feenstra more than Steve King

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst made headlines in Iowa and national media this week when she told reporters on a conference call she “will not be endorsing anyone” for the Republican nomination in the fourth Congressional district.

Strictly speaking, her announcement wasn’t news. Within days of State Senator Randy Feenstra’s campaign launch in January, Ernst said she didn’t plan to endorse in the IA-04 primary, Bret Hayworth reported for the Sioux City Journal at the time.

Many commentators have viewed Ernst’s distancing as a political blow to King, whom she enthusiastically endorsed the first time he faced a GOP primary challenger. Similarly, Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley backed King in that 2016 race but have vowed to stay neutral before next June’s primary.

While King would surely welcome the backing of Republican heavyweights for what may be the toughest race of his career, Feenstra likely needs that boost more.

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Why I'm with Beto: Every voice should be heard

Danya Rafiqi is press assistant for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign in Iowa. You can follow her on Twitter @DanyaRafiqi. -promoted by Laura Belin

I grew up in a politically apathetic household. My parents voted occasionally, and we might have even put the local nightly news on a couple times a week, but the power of “getting involved” was not something I learned about growing up.

But as a daughter of Pakistani Muslim immigrants, I learned about what to do when someone yelled at me in a grocery aisle, or how to respond to someone when they questioned my American-ness.

And though I remember the moment I realized that I did not have the privilege to ignore politics completely, I can’t remember anyone ever knocking on our door or calling to ask if my parents were going to vote.

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An error of judgment

Apologizing for this poorly-conceived protest was the right decision. Many people who attended events in Ankeny and Cedar Rapids were upset by the symbolism. -promoted by Laura Belin

This past weekend, Bold Iowa held an action intended to dramatize the severity of the climate crisis. Our inspiration came from students in Germany, who stood on melting blocks of ice in a gallows with nooses around their necks.

Our message — As the Arctic melts, the climate noose tightens — was well received by many. Yet we inadvertently hurt some individuals whom we had hoped to inspire, either because the image of the noose raised the specter of lynchings or because it kindled sadness over a loved one who died of suicide by hanging.

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