I’m being flippant with the title, of course, but my point is serious. Now, perhaps as a stereotypical right-winger predisposed to believe that the press is made up of biased, bleeding-heart commie pinkoes, I was prone to paranoid delusions back i nthe 80s. But… back during the Reagan years, the sol called “decade of greed,” it seemed to me that you couldn’t open a single newspaper, watch a single nightly news show, or look at a magazine without hearing about the horrible sufferings of the homeless. During that “decade of greed,” liberal commentators and satirists (Garry Trudeau comes to mind, especially) loved juxtaposing images of greedy, conspicuously consuming yuppies with images of poor sould freezing to death on the streets.
Well, here it is, 1999… Ronald Reagan is long gone, the economy seems to be booming, the stock market is still soaring, unemployment and inflation are quite low… and yet… in EVERY big city in America, there are (seemingly) more homeless folks on the street than ever before. WHether you’re in NEw York, San Francisco, Austin or Seattle, you’ll STILL have to dodge mumbling, smelly, psychotic street people and panhandlers.
You KNOW they’re out there, and their numbers haven’t dwindled even a LITTLE bit since the bad old 80s. Indeed, homeless advocates (the type the media couldn’t get enough of in 1986) say the numbers of homeless are higher than ever.
This brings up the question: how do we explain the magical disappearance of the homeless from the media??? Did Bill CLinton wave his magic wand and make them disappear? Quick: when’s the last time you saw BRowkaw/Rather/Jennings leading off the evening news with a feature on the homeless? Even the cowardly, gutless phony Garry Trudeau decided to turn his lovable homeless folks into millionaires (Trudeau’s lesson, I suppose, is that homelessness is only a problem during G.O.P. administrations… under the Democrats, the homeless all inherit a fortune).
Now, I can offer 2 theories as to why/how the homeless have gone POOF from the media. I ask you to select which of the theories is more likely to be true. Or, if you wish, offer your own theory.
The news media never gave a rat’s patootie about the homeless. They were merely a handy club with which to beat Ronald Reagan over the head. Once Reagan was gone, replaced by a “compassionate” Democrat, the homeless were no longer of any use (or concern) to media liberals.
News is show biz, and people get tired of the same old stories. People got tired of hearing about the homeless- just as they eventually got tired of Alar, crack babies, the little red AIDS ribbons, etc. (In all those cases, the PROBLEMS never disappeared- all that vanished was public interest.) The news media quit caring about the homeless because the public just wasn’t interested in hearing about them any more. Ratings, ratings, ratings…!