Accuracy in Media

In a profile interview with journalist and author Steven Brill, Vox’s Sean Illing looks at Brill’s book “Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall — and Those Fighting to Reverse It.”

While taking multiple swipes at businesses and successful Americans and freedom of speech expressed through political spending, the Vox interview ignores fundamental evidence cited by conservatives for the decline in stable American families and communities.

“Over the past 50 years, lots of things have changed in the United States,” Illing writes.

“Here are a few examples.

1) A child’s chance of earning more than his or her parents has plummeted from 90 to 50 percent.

2) Earnings by the top 1 percent of Americans nearly tripled, while middle-class wages have been basically frozen for four decades, adjusting for inflation.

3.) Self-inflicted deaths — from opioid use and other drug addictions — are at record highs.

4) Nearly one in five children in the US are now at risk of going hungry.

5) Among the 35 richest countries in the world, the US now has the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy.”

In the interview unpacking those statistics, Vox fails to mention one of the most powerful variables in whether a child has economic mobility is whether he or she is born into a home with married parents. Nor does Vox mention that data shows marriage is one of the strongest weapons against child poverty, and Vox fails to ask about the cultural norms adopted by the 1960s leftist takeover of the mainstream media that eroded this bedrock value, effectively normalizing childhood poverty.

Vox also fails to mention the data from researchers like former Republican congressional staffer Ron Haskins, now at Brookings Institution: “Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children. Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year). There are surely influences other than these principles at play, but following them guides a young adult away from poverty and toward the middle class.”

On the issue of wage stagnation, Vox fails to mention that a vast influx of low-skilled immigration suppressed low and middle-class wages.

Also regarding the opioid crisis, Vox also fails to mention the southern U.S. border crisis that has allowed for a deadly influx of opioids to pour across the border, including fentanyl originating from China.

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