It’s no secret that Fox News hates low-wage workers. They’ve been waging a war against them, and the poor in general, for some time now. That war was renewed on February 25 when the “fair and balanced” network decided to rip into a minimum wage worker who identifies herself as “Talia Jane.”
You probably heard about Talia Jane’s letter to her boss, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. In that letter she talks about the difficulties of living in San Francisco while working a low-wage job. She notes that “80 percent” of her income goes to pay her rent. San Francisco is notorious for the cost of housing — a cost that is so high that even some with better, higher paying jobs can’t afford to pay it. Talia Jane says that because of the cost of her apartment, she can’t afford other basic necessities.
During a segment of the morning show Fox and Friends called “The Wussification Of America” (didn’t most of us stop using terms like that in middle school?), host Sandra Smith talked to a woman named Stephanie Williams who had written a rebuttal to Talia Jane. Williams tells Smith that she found Talia Jane’s complaint to be “very Dickensesque.” She follows that comment by saying that Talia Jane is saying “I’m so poor, I’m so poor,” and that she was shocked to find links to Talia’s PayPal and Venmo accounts at the bottom of her letter, where she asks for help in paying her rent. It’s kind of a strange comment. Why wouldn’t someone who fears winding up homeless ask for help?
Of course Williams takes the line that the problem is not with a company paying wages that are so low that many of their employees can’t afford a decent lifestyle; the problem, as she sees it, is with Talia Jane. Williams tells Smith,
She didn’t have a second job. She didn’t have any supplemental income. And she willingly agreed to the salary they promised her. Clearly, you knew what you were going to be getting paid. You made these financial decisions on your own and now you’re expecting the company to finance you not for the work you’re doing, but for the lifestyle you chose, the apartment you chose, the city you chose to live in, and only having one job.
Wow. Remember a time when not only did Americans not have to take a second job, but most families could actually live comfortably if not extravagantly with only one person working? Thanks to the horror unleashed on America known as “Reaganomics,” millions of young adults like Williams don’t remember those days. Now it is not only necessary, but expected that people will work second jobs. Because she is trying to survive on just one job, Williams suggests that Talia Jane is not “pulling her weight.”
Williams also has a problem with Talia Jane living in San Francisco. Sure, she could probably find cheaper housing elsewhere. But Yelp is based in San Francisco, and living outside the city means you must have a means of getting to work. Maybe she could have found an apartment somewhere with public transportation. But failing that, she would need a car — a car which she most likely can’t afford.
This is the type of discussion about wages you get on Fox. It’s never the employer’s fault that workers can’t afford to work one full-time job and have enough to live on. It’s because there is obviously something wrong with you. What do you mean that you like to have some time off from work to sleep? You “taker!” Sleep is overrated.
Seriously, though. This argument that we should accept that it takes multiple jobs for a person to provide for just him or herself, let alone a family, needs to be put to rest. It’s one thing to take on a temporary second job to pay off some debts, or to help save money for a new car. But no one who works a full-time job should have to take a second job just to ensure their survival. That is exactly what Fox News is advocating.
Here’s the discussion, via Media Matters/Fox News:
Featured image via Fox News screen capture