Media Moves

ABC overhypes extreme jobs phenomenon

November 28, 2006

Ken Shepherd of the Business & Media Institute dissected a report on the ABC News Monday that looked at “extreme” jobs where people work long hours and found that the report exaggerated what was actually happening.

Betsy StarkShepherd wrote, “That’s how ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased a story in the opening credits of the November 27 ‘World News.’ Yet for all the hype, fewer than one percent of Americans hold these type of ‘extreme’ jobs, and most are well-compensated.

“The ‘so-called extreme jobs,’ Gibson told viewers, involve ‘high-pressure work that often comes with a very high salary and a very heavy personal toll.’ Yet it’s only about ‘2 million Americans’ that ‘fall into this fast-growing category,’ Gibson conceded as he introduced a report by Betsy Stark.

“In a nation of roughly 300 million people, that’s only 0.67 percent of the country’s population, although Stark’s report made ‘extreme’ work sound like a pandemic.

“What’s more, Gibson got his 2 million number by rounding up from the 1.7 million Americans in ‘extreme’ jobs as determined by the New York-based Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP). Stark featured CWLP senior fellow Catherine Orenstein in her story but did not mention the organization’s name or its ideological leanings.

“A review of CWLP’s Web site shows the group often focuses on traditional liberal workplace concerns such as the number of women and minorities in executive leadership in American business.”

Read more here.

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