Vice.com’s Charles Davis takes a brutal look at the hypocrisy of a left-wing media that privately exploits its own unpaid interns while publicly championing a “living wage” and trashing retailers like Walmart. Even if you don’t agree with Davis that all interns should be paid a living wage, there is no question that the hypocrisy being practiced by the likes of Mother Jones, Robert Reich’s The American Prospect, Salon, and The New Republic is breathtaking.
Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, a far-left economic proponent of the “living wage,” who just two weeks ago blasted Walmart for paying some of its workers $8.80 an hour, founded The American Prospect, a left-wing magazine that makes Walmart look generous by comparison. Full-time interns are paid a stipend of $100 a week. At 40 hours, that is $2.50 an hour, well below the minimum wage.
Mother Jones only recently agreed to start paying its interns. As of now, its interns still only receive a stipend of $1000 month, which works out to less than $6 an hour. According to Mother Jones’ own living wage calculator, that is $900 less than what is necessary to enjoy” a secure yet modest living.”
According to one source, Mother Jones advises its interns to sign up for food stamps.
Salon’s hypocrisy is especially notable. The same left-wing outlet that has written stories titled “Intern Nation”: Are we exploiting a generation of workers? doesn’t pay its interns anything.
The New Republic was recently purchased by a left-wing Internet tycoon worth over $600 million. The outlet still refuses to pay its full-time interns anything.
Democracy Now!, a left-wing hour-long newscast, pays its interns only $15 a day and treats them like kitchen servants:
In 2011, Democracy Now! asked its $15-a-day employees to work the program’s 15th anniversary gala, a major fundraiser. Interns were asked to “greet and thank guests, check their coats, make sure the event goes smoothly, and help clean up,” according to an email obtained by VICE. “We will provide you with a delicious pizza dinner, but ask that you refrain from eating the catered dinner at the event.”
The fact that the leaders of left-wing thought in America see themselves as above their own rules, should not be at all surprising. The left always believes that their punishing ideas and laws are for little people, not the overlords in charge of the social engineering. There is a reason why the first person to sign up for ObamaCare was not Barack Obama and probably some poor working class dad who just had the affordable insurance he liked canceled.
Switching gears for a moment, this rampage against interns is not a smart idea. While it is fun to point out legitimate hypocrisy from the left, the loss of internship programs would be a loss for those looking to break into any glamorous profession.
In both Hollywood and in media, I worked my butt off for free for years, and it was the smartest move I ever made. Opportunities came my way I never would have been offered had I stupidly demanded a job instead of a chance to prove myself. And I was married, pushing the age of forty, and working full-time. Not exactly the best time to do this. But I wanted to change my life and was willing to pay the price.
If you want to work in any profession in Hollywood, get your butt on a film set or in a production office, and be the best damn unpaid latte fetcher in the history of Tinseltown. If you want to work in media, do the same. Do everything that is asked of you and more. Worse case, you will make contacts and learn a profession at a price far cheaper than any college education.
One thing you should not do, though, is puff yourself up as a left-wing champion of the little guy via sanctimonious articles that have been researched and proofed by those you refuse to pay.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC