It's supposed to be a roundtable. It's supposed to be a discussion of smart people. Unfortunately, though, it turns out to be quite the offensive experience, because the "Barbershop" segment on NPR's show, "Tell Me More," allows conservatives say things that are so factually wrong that it's hard to respect the rest of the show's efforts.
Tell Me More is a daily show on National Public Radio that is an omnibus news round-up. One of the regular features is the Friday "barbershop" segment, where host Michel Martin and a panel of journalists/writers/pundits, mostly male (if not all male), comment on the week's news stories. Today's segment on the minimum wage started with the news that The Gap plans to raise their starting salary to $9/hour this year, and $10/hour in 2015. The discussion then went to the President's push to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10/hour.
Today's Barbershop panel consisted of Jimmy Israel, a writer from Cleveland, Fernando Vila, program director for "Fusion," an ABC-Univision venture out of Miami, Kevin Williamson, "roving correspondent" for National Review, and Corey Dade, contributing editor for The Root. Here's what Williamson had to say when they came around to him on this topic:
What the President has done here and what the Democrats are pushing, is a raise in the minimum wage for its own sake, which is going to create these tradeoffs that you don't necessarily have to get, and the reason they're doing that is because they want to hand a victory to their political base that's clamoring for it, even though they don't understand what the consequences of it are...everyone supports the minimum wage, because people are idiots and they don't pay attention to the economics...
Without going into Mr. Williamson's economic theories, this is where treating conservative pundits as intellectual equals falls apart. "Everyone" do NOT support a raise in the miminum wage. Congressional Republicans most certainly do NOT support the concept, mainly because
- It would give POTUS a win in an election year
- Teabaggers would use that support to bludgeon non-teabagger CongressCritters in primary season this year, leading up to November.
- All too many Republicans object to a raise in the minimum wage because it would immediately benefit black and brown people.
Do any of the folks in the "Barbershop" call the conservative on it? NO. Ms. Martin makes a half-hearted attempt, prefacing her remarks with "I'm sorry," even.
When you treat extremists as equals, you lessen your own principles. Sad ahd shameful to see so much of this on public radio of late.