Skip to comments.Screw you, PBS
Posted on 09/19/2003 3:55:19 PM PDT by hsmomx3
Sorry for the above language, but I used a more vulgar verb last night while watching a PBS NewsHour segment about new expensive public housing in Chicago. I was still fuming when I awoke this morning.
Maybe my nerves are frayed over my father's recent death and the unpleasant task of moving my 82-year-old mother out of the very humble house that she shared with him for 60 years in St. Louis -- a house that they had made livable over the years through sweat equity. But even with a lifetime of scrimping on their meager income to buy remodeling materials, the house is worth only about a third as much as the beautiful new townhomes built for welfare recipients in Chicago.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a similar story during the week of my dad's funeral. It included photos of expensive townhomes for the poor in St. Louis and purred about how great the housing was for the residents. As with the PBS segment, the story did not question why people on welfare should live in free housing that is better than the housing of most taxpayers, or why the poor cannot be provided with an old house and the materials to fix it up with their own labor, similar to how Bosnian immigrants are renovating dilapidated homes in the city with their own labor and money.
When my mom saw the article, she threw the paper down in disgust without saying a word. She is too polite to say, "Screw you, Post-Dispatch."
Neither PBS nor the Post-Dispatch would ever interview a taxpayer such as my mom about public housing or other social programs. She might tell them what it was like to be orphaned as an infant and raised in a two-flat by an immigrant aunt and uncle, who worked as a waiter and never went on the dole. She might say that she does not begrudge the deserving poor from getting temporary help, but she sure as hell resents it when they live better than taxpayers.
The PBS segment did not interview someone like my mom, but it did interview the members of a single-parent black family as they sat in their new townhouse, which, considering how nicely furnished and decorated it was, could have been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Adhering to the standard journalism formula, the interview was a politically-correct puff-piece that did not ask the tough questions that my mom and millions of other Americans would have wanted to be asked.
For example, it did not ask the unemployed, overweight single mother if she thought it was fair that she and her strapping teenage kids were living in a nicer house than taxpayers who paid for the house, or why she and her kids and their absentee father could not have gotten off their duffs and helped with the construction.
In the absence of such penetrating questions, another opportunity was lost by the media to teach the public a lesson about personal responsibility. Instead, another lesson in irresponsibility was taught -- that if you want a nice house, the way to get it is to drop out of school, have kids out of wedlock, and sit on your behind and eat Cheetos while watching Oprah Winfrey.
Although the segment explained the horrors of the high-rise public housing where the family used to live, it did not explain why the housing was horrible. It was horrible because Lyndon Johnson's Great Society Program and other misguided social programs stripped the poor of their dignity and self-reliance by giving them handouts without expecting responsible behavior in return. Then they were told to live in gulag-like breeding grounds of social pathology.
But society did get something in return for giving people handouts without expecting responsible behavior in return. It got skyrocketing out-of-wedlock births and the exodus of fathers from families, both of which are the primary causes of poverty, crime, school dropouts and low academic achievement.
My mom and dad saw it coming in the 1960s. Although they never went to college, they understood human nature better than the experts with their advanced sociology degrees.
I also saw it coming. Before the Great Society atomized black families, I worked as a teenager as the only white member of a crew of black janitors and porters. I saw firsthand how black men worked hard, supported their families and were slowly climbing the economic ladder. I even made extra money by washing and waxing my coworkers' cars, which were nicer than my family's decrepit car.
Statistics confirm my recollection of black progress, showing that progress was more rapid before the Great Society than after.
Unfortunately, PBS and the Post-Dispatch are the rule, not the exception. A day does not go by without a chirpy story appearing in my local newspaper or on local TV about a new government program that rewards irresponsibility instead of responsibility. A recent story, for example, chirped about free tutors, free all-day kindergarten and free preschool for poor kids who don't do well in school. It did not mention that an unemployed single parent with four kids is already getting an education benefit that will cost taxpayers nearly $400,000 over 12 years. Once again, an opportunity to teach a lesson in personal responsibility was lost and replaced by a lesson in personal irresponsibility -- namely, if you do not make sure that your kids take full advantage of a free education, the state will reward you by spending even more money on them.
PBS, the Post-Dispatch and other mainstream media are essentially saying "Screw you!" to millions of Americans by not including their views in news stories about welfare and other social issues.
Americans should say "Screw you!" in return and go elsewhere for their news.
Mr. Cantoni is an author, columnist and founder of Honest Americans Against Legal Theft (HAALT). He can be reached at email@example.com.
All the more reason to drag your butt outta bed every morning and go to work.
I feel much better after reading that. Nice to know my tax dollars are being put to "good" use.
A government bus driver, I presume. Typical example of a person using government designed economic instruments and getting slapped down. What's the old bumpersticker slogan? "Don't steal, the government hates competition." ;)
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