The lines between middle class and working class have become blurred as the terms are used interchangeably in media and in politics. The difference between the two exists and needs to be defined.
Working Class Perspectives contributing writer Christopher Martin dissected the two terms and explained why the difference is important on America’s Work Force Union Podcast. He also explained what is like to teach journalism as the profession becomes increasingly dangerous.
Separating the “working class” from the “middle class”
While the middle class and working class are closely related, they are not interchangeable terms and it is important to determine how and when they should be used.
Martin said 80 percent of workers work in service occupations. While these are typically working class jobs, politicians and media figures tend to lump these workers in with the group they call the middle class. Martin explained that the middle class is wide ranging and many think of the middle class as those in the upper middle class.
He explained how some, such as President Joe Biden have used the terms working class and middle class. For example, President Biden has often used the term working class as an adjective, when referencing a working class neighborhood. He then uses the term middle class as a noun.
Teaching journalism in today’s climate
The news media has been demonized over the past four years and now has a target on its back. This will and in some cases has changed the way the profession is taught according to Martin.
Journalists are becoming targets in the U.S. It was clear on January 6 when an Associated Press crew was targeted and their equipment destroyed. Additionally, reporters were targeted by the police in Minneapolis during recent protests. All of these factors have led to the U.S. falling to number 44 worldwide in press freedom.