Michael Lind, being unpleasant: Michael Lind is a hold-over from the old Salon.
In his new piece, he tells a naughty tale. For once, the headline basically captures the tone of the piece:
“College-educated professionals could doom progressive politics.”
Lind starts by noting an obvious fact: “college-educated professionals are an increasingly important part of the base of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party.”
As he continues, he lists three reasons why “the growing domination of the center-left by college-educated professionals is bad on the whole for progressive politics.”
Oof! Lind notes the Democratic Party’s growing deference to the interests of professional upper-end earners. He also claims that upper-end professionals like doctors and professors are increasingly ripping off the rest of us rubes.
To the extent that Democrats and progressives defer to these groups, the “gouging” (his word) will continue. At least, that’s what Lind says.
In a somewhat similar vein, we’ve often noted how little you hear from news orgs like MSNBC about health care looting or the gigantic costs of higher education. In the most striking part of his piece, Lind almost semi-explains that:
LIND (3/20/14): In my experience, much of the professional class is not very interested in working Americans. In principle, professional-class progressives are against poverty and support economic justice. But on the list of issues that excite college-educated progressives, the bread-and-butter issues that dominated Farmer-Labor Progressivism and New Deal liberalism are often low priorities, compared to saving the planet from global warming or freedom from NSA surveillance.In that passage, Lind is talking about “professional-class progressives” in general. It seems to us that what he’s saying applies to the overall topic selection at MSNBC.
This is not a caricature. I base my observation (admittedly a personal one) on a quarter-century of experience in journalism and the nonprofit sector. If you want to fill an auditorium at a think tank, magazine office or other venue, hold a panel on one or more of the non-economic issues I just mentioned and the seats will fill up quickly with enthusiastic, affluent, mostly white upper-middle-class progressives. If you want to hold a panel on the minimum wage or workplace tyranny, expect to have a lot of empty seats. To avoid embarrassment, you might reserve a smaller room.
The recent wave of protests by low-wage fast-food workers confirms my point. Their concerns had been neglected for years by upper-middle-class progressives more concerned with inspiring world-saving crusades than trench warfare against McDonald’s. Only when the workers took matters in their own hands did most of the center-left credentialed class start paying attention (perhaps temporarily).
Unless someone has been shot and killed—in which case, our superstars start making up facts—have you ever seen our liberal leaders worry about the interests of black kids? Have you ever heard a word at MSNBC about the mammoth looting which characterizes U.S. health care?
Can media stars at the tippity-top relate to people down below? Can we the followers relate to such lowly creatures?
Or do we prefer to see our media stars deride such folk as tea-baggers? Deride them for the clownish way they do the electric glide? Spend all day looking for ways to call the whole world racist?
Derision dismantles the 99 percent. With that in mind, Michael Lind has a question to ask:
Whose side are we actually on? How do we come by our topics?