I was about to start a piece on the latest Obamacare trap when I spotted Charles Davis story at Memeorandum and my Irony detector started exploding.
You need to let the person being interviewed explain why he is terrible, which is more easily done when he thinks you are stupid or on his side.
What I did looked and felt like an entry-level job in the media. And I enjoyed it—I liked going up to any old white guy in a suit and asking him to explain in his own words why he’s destroying the country. I felt as if I had sort of made it, as much as an English major can. I wasn’t living at home, I got to carry a microphone, and my work was broadcast over the radio. To an outsider looking in, I almost looked like a respectable person.
The problem was I wasn’t being compensated for any of that work or my veneer of respectability.
What? I thought it was those “old white guys” who were ruining the country, not the people who sent you to show why they were so terrible?
As the article continues we discover this is not unusual for the left. Mother Jones, the American Prospect, Common Cause, The New Republic, the Washington monthly, Democracy Now! the Nation all liberal lions and foes of the evil exploiters like WalMart were all doing and paying (or not paying) the same.
Some claimed ignorance:
Robert Reich served as labor secretary under Bill Clinton and is outspoken in his support for a living wage. But when I asked him about the trend of entry-level jobs being relabeled “internships” and being stripped of the pay, benefits, and legal rights they once offered recent college grads (by some estimates, half of the estimated 1.5 million interns in America are unpaid), he professed ignorance.
“This is not a topic I’ve given much thought,” said Reich.
At the New Republic back in October they defended it:
Yes, Young Writers Should Give Their Work Away for Free It’s sad but true: There’s no other way to make it
Picture for a moment if Sam Walton or his successors wrote a piece called “Young shelf stockers should give their work away for free…” The howl of outrage led by the publications above would be the only story in the county.
But the excuse that really caught my eye came from the Washington Monthly
“The reason we don’t pay interns is that we’re a small nonprofit operation and we can’t afford it,” explained Paul Glastris, editor of the Washington Monthly. “We think it’s a valuable experience—it certainly was for me, having started in this business as an unpaid intern at the Washington Monthly.”
Oh they don’t pay workers because they can’t afford it Mr. Glastris let me tell you a story…
This blog started a week after I lost my job. This week we begin our 6th year. In February for the first time I started drawing a regular pay of $305 weekly before taxes when my readers were willing to pay it to cover the mortgage. In November in a leap of faith I brought on seven writers (Marathon Pundit, Linda Szugyi, Baldilocks, Fausta, AP “Lady Liberty” Dillon, Pastor George Kelly and Steve Eggleston). This is something any reader of this blog already knows
What they (and you Mr. Glastris) don’t know is before I extended that first offer I called up several friends in the business to establish what a fair price range per word was for freelance work to see if I could afford it. I had an idea of how much I figured I could raise my weekly goal and still (hopefully) make it. If the cost was beyond what I thought I could afford. The plan would have stopped right there.
Based on what they told me I made my offers based on them delivering a single piece of 250 words once a week. That is what each of my writers are asked to deliver and that’s what they are paid for. It is on that figure that I increased my weekly goal with readers by just over 11% to a whopping $340 weekly to see the market could bear that price and signed each of my writers for a period of three months to see if it can be done.
That is how capitalism works
My exit question for the left is this: If this blog expect to pay its writers a fair freelance wage when I’m barely making my mortgage how is it that you are OK with doing otherwise or needed Mr. Davis’ piece to change your ways?
Update: Stacy McCain got to this story before me and noted some serious irony
Though it does not pay its professionally experienced interns a dime, Salon (which has published my work in the past) has had the chutzpah to run a number of stories on the plight of unpaid workers, such as, “‘Intern Nation’: Are We Exploiting a Generation of Workers?” and “Unpaid and Sexually Harassed: The Latest Intern Injustice.” The company did not respond to a request for comment.
(The saddest part about this? Although it doesn’t pay its interns a red cent, Salon has still managed to lose millions of dollars a year, every year, since the days of 56K-baud dial-up modems. But, hey, stupid liberals get the “glamour” of working for nothing at a money-losing lefty blog whose star writer is Joan Walsh, so there’s that.)
While offering some advice:
as a shameless capitalist blogger, I’m going to suggest readers shop for fabulous savings at Amazon (from which I receive a small commission) and also include a PayPal “donate” button, so readers can pay me for the pleasure of mocking your stupidity.
Full disclosure Stacy McCain was one of the people I consulted with to establish my per-word rate for the writers
Update 2: Do conservatives do better? Well Newsbusters does and calls them out: (emphasis mine)
MRC has long paid its interns, and is presently paying $11 an hour. For so-called progressive organizations that demand higher minimum wages across society, it’s hard to fathom the depth of their hypocrisy on unpaid or barely-paid interns — especially when they have top staff making six-figure salaries.
You can’t claim “measly little nonprofit” status with that kind of wage at the top.
Update 3: Yid with Lid:
As America approached the holiday buying season Mother Jones writers continually attacked Walmart, the country’s biggest retailer for paying some of its workers at the federal minimum wage level $7.25 an hour. While there are many reasons to disagree with the Mother Jones stance, perhaps the biggest reason was revealed on Monday—even at $7.25 an hour, Walmart is paying 21% more than Mother Jones pays its lowest level employees. That’s assuming the magazine’s employees are working only 40 hours a week, which according to the report is a big assumption.
We’ll be hearing more from the Lid later today
It’s Tuesday and we are only $47 toward our weekly goal of $340 to cover the Mortgage and Da Magnificent Seven I mentioned above.
In November we missed our goal by 13% being short both for the mortgage and for the Seven and unlike the liberal sites mentioned above we don’t have liberal interests keeping us going or internet millionaires keeping the spigots open. Our funding comes from the Tip Jar Hitters and readers. If we deliver (and if they can afford it) they hit DaTipjar and we make it, if we don’t deliver or they can’t afford it, we don’t.
It’s that simple.
Help us make it, please consider hitting DaTipJar below.
We are also offering sponsorships of both the Magnificent Seven & Da Magnificent Panel now is an excellent time to jump on board, contact me here for more details