After making a donation to the Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness, I received a letter of gratitude thanking me for my contribution.
The committee stated their message very clearly – homelessness is not important, ending it is.
Homelessness is a huge problem, but part of the solution is simple – tell the truth.
It’s a shame that the liberal media exaggerates statistics to gain public support.
During the Reagan-Bush administrations, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the number of homeless people at around 230,000.
Meanwhile, the Urban Institute estimated between 355,000 and 462,000.
Such differences are understandable, since, for obvious reasons, it is very difficult to count the number of homeless people.
But in 1993, NBC Weekend Today reported that “nationally right now, five million people are believed to be homeless…and the numbers are increasing.”
Apparently, Charles Osgood of CBS News saw the rising numbers, and wanted to make his own prediction. He reported that by the year 2000, 19 million people would be homeless.
Osgood must have followed the old saying, “Don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good story,” when he decided to up the ante to gain public sympathy.
As with AIDS, homelessness is a problem that liberal reporters exaggerate to lobby for more government programs.
They blame government inaction, high housing costs, and a low minimum wage – all of which are very legitimate problems. However, they do so overwhelmingly.
During the 1980s, the Center for Media and Public Affairs analyzed 103 news stories on the three major networks, as well as 26 articles published in major news magazines.
Ninety-six percent of the stories blamed social or political conditions for the quandary of the homeless.
But only four percent blamed mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, or lack of motivation as a cause – even though these problems contribute largely to homelessness.
Liberal reporters don’t mention these causes out of fear of being labeled unsympathetic.
Instead, they play on public sympathies and their hopes of making the world a better place.
In some sense, that’s admirable, because homelessness should be stopped.
But news reporters are supposed to present stories in a way that reflects the truth – whether that truth is good or bad.
They should also present more stories on the NRA, pro-life advocates, or anti-affirmative action supporters without mocking them or presenting them as wacky, right wing conspirators.
Roughly half the nation believes in the messages of those groups, but no one in Manhattan is going to tell you that, let alone report the news that way.
Bernard Goldberg, in his best-selling book Bias writes: “Does anyone think a ‘diverse’ group of conservative journalists would give us the news straight? I sure as hell don’t.
They’d be just like the Left. Except, they’d let their conservative biases slip into the news, and they’d swear on a stack of Bibles that they were mainstream…just as liberals do now.”
Reporters can’t take the straight, middle road when they’re constantly turning left.
Brandon Lausch can be reached at Goskateboarding2000@hotmail.com.