In a Vice piece called “The Exploited Laborer of the Liberal Media,” Charles Davis drags a few progressive outlets through the mud, noting that, despite talking a good game about “class war,” “many of them are exploiting workers in a way that would make corporate America proud: relabeling entry-level employees ‘interns’ and ‘fellows’ in order to dance around US labor laws.” Among the institutions that Davis criticizes for failing spectacularly to fail up to their politics are Common Cause, the American Prospect, The New Republic, Salon, Harper’s, Washington Monthly, Democracy Now!, and The Nation. It’s certainly worth a read.
Most notable, perhaps, is this:
One former MJ intern who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity told me they “slept on an air mattress for six months while I worked there because I couldn’t afford a real one.” Another former intern said, “During our first meeting with HR at Mother Jones, we were advised to sign up for food stamps.”
Being a free market sort, I don’t particularly agree with Davis about internships. But then I’m not harping on about “social justice” all the time and trying to get the minimum wage raised. Mother Jones, on the other hand, is. “So here’s a challenge to the liberal media,” Davis writes:
If you are in favor of a living wage and oppose discrimination against the poor, let’s see that reflected in your newsrooms, not just on your blogs. Support workers, including the young ones who work for you, by insisting they get a fair wage for a fair’s day work. There is no justification for not paying people for their labor—that’s why so many lefty publications did not even offer a defense when I asked for one—and failing to do so means failing to live up to one’s stated liberal ideals. It also just sets a bad example.