Social Stratification In The Media

Social Stratification as portrayed by the American media is undergoing one of the greatest shifts of our generation. One of the clearest examples of this is the demolition on the American Dream and the shredding of its legitimacy by every media source, large and small, in the United States. The time of rejoicing the blue-collar worker who pulled himself up by his bootstraps to become a leading CEO are gone. In its place are cries of outrage as the shrinking middle class of Americans lose their homes, struggle against the rising corporate class, and choke under debilitating college debt. It is under such duress that American social mobility has come to a screeching halt.

The beginning of the end of the American people’s belief in their economic structure can be marked by the year 2008 and the crash of the American housing market. Every media outlet from NPR to the Wall Street Journal questioned previously unfettered beliefs that every American could own their own home.

Fast forward now to 2012 and the beginning of Occupy Wall Street, with protests spreading like wildfire from the East to West Coast. National and local newspapers alike covered the social discontent and outrage of American citizens with the corporate oligarchy.

By 2013 the last safe haven of the American dream, the college degree as a vehicle for upward mobility into the middle class, began its demise. Print and online news sources alike wondered at the fate of twenty-something millennials laden with near $100,000 in college debt in a shriveling workforce economy.

Our media and journalists act as the watchdogs of our society, yet ultimately they are only a reflection of the American public itself. Because of their unceasing and unflinching coverage, the demise of the American Dream has become a constant discussion within the public forum. Americans have ceased to view social stratification as an easy ocean passage on which they ride the boat of social mobility to more fruitful lands. Instead they watch as the American socio economic class structures further harden and calcify, creating distinct and unbreakable barriers between the lower classes and the much decried one percent. Yet without the voice of our media there would be no public discussion at all. It is through the media’s mega phone that social discontent is given a breading ground to grow and organize so that one day it can morph into social change.

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