Editor’s note: Originally posted on Charm City Radical by yours truly.
The Baltimore Sun recently declared blatantly that it was not on the side of the city’s working class, or proletariat if you will, which is concentrated in healthcare and social assistance, education services, food services, scientific & technical services, and many more sectors. In a front page story below the fold by Lorraine Mirabella, the Sun‘s business reporter, titled “increased minimum wage worries city businesses” (and “businesses bulk at Baltimore’s minimum wage bill” online) attacked the $15 an hour minimum wage, almost a living wage for a family of three, with two adults (one working part-time) and a child, which passed the Baltimore City Council 12-3 and sits at Mayor Catherine Pugh’s desk. Mirabella’s article quotes three complaining, pathetic smallbusiness people, small capitalists or what some call the petty bourgeoisie, who say that the wage increase will result in them losing money: Russ Causey of CMD Outsourcing Solutions Inc., CEO Jay Steinmetz of Barcoding Inc., and Ann Costlow of Sofi’s Crepes. For Ms. Costlow, she shouldn’t even be included since the legislation, if signed, wouldn’t take effect until July 1, 2022, affecting businesses with 50 or more employees, and those with less than 50 workers in 2016. Hence, Castlow’s business, which employs 30 workers, wouldn’t be effected until 2026, giving her NINE years to adapt! So, why is she complaining?
It gets worse. Even the economist quoted in the article, Stephen K. Walters, who focuses on declines of American cities apparently, complains about the wage increase hurting the “healthy city economy,” a classic right-wing canard pushed by the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, and American Enterprise Institute, among others. The $15 wage is arguably only given fair treatment in 4 paragraphs of the article, not including a part of a paragraph about the bill, quoting Mary Pat Clarke as saying that the bill will help low-wage workers by tackling outstanding inequality and some businesses (i.e. small capitalists) applauded the move, such as Andrew Buerger‘s B’More Organic and others who are part of Business for A Fair Wage, a nationwide group that supports higher minimum wages. The rest of the article quotes the complaining and rabid sect of small capitalists who hate the wage increase, even claiming (without evidence?) that Mayor Pugh had said that the bill would force “her to close her clothing boutique another day each week.” The horrendous article is only the start.
In an editorial by the Baltimore Sun‘s editorial board, in an editorial right above another focused on the good-for-nothing “Russia conspiracy”/”Trump-Russia connection,” they denounce a higher minimum wage. In a horribly argued editorial, titled “Veto $15 an hour,” they argue that because the city is facing an “economic crisis,” Pugh should “take a stand and veto this bill,” which seems veto-proof. They go on to claim that the bill doesn’t make the city “competitive” and discourages service jobs. Seriously, that’s the economic model they want for Charm City? Yikes! Anyway, after going through a couple more paragraphs about other efforts to raise the wage across the state, the Sun declares that Pugh should use her budget to expand “economic opportunities in Baltimore, not put…[the city] at a competitive disadvantage.” They seriously sound like business conservatives and taking the same line as the Charm City Capitalist Class, which could be called the CCCC for short.
Some may be wondering why the “progressive” Baltimore Sun would do this. Let us not forget that the Sun‘s “editorial policies and business practices” determined the city’s racial development, as they supported the first racial segregation law in the United States in 1910, albeit while liking the “romantically planned” all-white Roland Park suburb. Beyond this, the Sun‘s editor, Charles H. Grasty, was the “godfather” of Roland Park, with the paper running an editorial in 1910 supporting white racial domination, along with ignoring “important but uncomfortable stories” during the Civil War when the city was under occupation of the Union Army and anti-Semitism permeating the paper from the 1910s to the 1940s.
Some may easily dismiss this as past history and say that “the Sun isn’t like that anymore.” That may be true. However, let us not forget what the Sun has done in the past. It had an article honoring women of Charm City (and Maryland’s) political and entertainment scene as “women worth watching” despite their varied problems. It spun a story on Maryland’s healthcare and it ignored a story that “one of Baltimore’s biggest owners of video gambling machines is the subject of a wide-spreading investigation.” Apart from the corporate parent of the Sun, Tronc, having their own business-friendly interests of course, they dropped Bill Griffth’s Zippy and Sun reporters complained when people criticized them for coverage of Sheila Dixon’s trial, perhaps rightly. While some may defend the actions of the Sun, it is worth noting that apart from the “massive layoffs of veteran staffers” in 2009 and 2010 by former Sun editor J. Montgomery “Monty” Cook, the same person who said that the Sun is “no longer a newspaper company.” Additionally, any form of protest among Sun staffers, when it was proposed that the paper be sold to the Koch Brothers in 2013, seemed to be non-existent according to Sun reporter, Lorraine Mirabella (yet again!) on the scene of the protest outside the Sun‘s building
Admittedly this is only some of the highlights of the reporting of the Baltimore Brew, an independent Baltimore media outlet, meaning that that they could be missing something. Looking at the editorial page now, nothing sticks out that is apart from a bourgeois progressive/liberal viewpoint, including defending city schools, criticizing President Trump, talking about segregation in Baltimore County, and immigration raids, among other subjects. They even argued for redistricting reform on a progressive basis!
The Sun seems to be going down a dark path with this editorial slamming the $15 minimum wage, showing that they are on the same side as annoyed small capitalists, the Greater Baltimore Committee, and other business interests. Maybe the Sun likes those on their “business and civic hall of fame” and annoyed Baltimore area residents, as noted in letters here and here, more than those that care about justice.
It is shameful that the Baltimore Sun wrote this editorial and an effectively one-sided anti-wage raise article, siding with the staunch conservative interests of Charm City’s capitalist class (big capitalists) and small capitalists, represented by small businesses. Instead of waiting for the Sun to do better, we should support better media outlets and create our own news outlets that promote the working class.
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