Bill Maher, on his HBO show Friday night, spent time with his panel discussing the two big stories of the week: Benghazi and the rescued women who were kidnapped and held captive in Ohio. In terms of the latter, Maher questioned how socioeconomic status plays a role in how these situations are resolved. Would the women have fared better in an affluent neighborhood?
As Maher mentioned how Charles Ramsey — who was hailed a hero for his role in helping the kidnapping victims escape — talked about eating his McDonald’s prior to hearing one of the women’s pleas, he asked, “I wonder if that has to do with why this wasn’t uncovered earlier. If they were in a richer neighborhood, would they have spent 10 years in that basement?”
He further recalled the talk of “unincorporated areas” when the U.S. was going into Afghanistan. “It seems like there are some unincorporated areas of America where we just don’t go, we don’t know, where people disappear very easily — and it is kind of a two Americas thing,” Maher posited. “There’s AMBER alerts, there’s no Shaniqua alerts.”
National Review’s Charles Cooke offered up his own “tragic view” of the situation: There’s not much that can be done about it. To Maher’s point, however, he remarked that it’s “not necessarily a poor-rich thing.”
On the other side of the spectrum, The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald hypothesized that, at this point, everything in this country is “a byproduct of the poor-rich thing.” Institutions treated people differently based on socioeconomic status, he noted, and where America was once touted for class mobility, that’s not as true anymore.
Joy Reid followed up by adding the story’s ability to mobilize the media. A pretty girl going missing in an affluent community is the kind of “fish out of water” story that garners coverage, she argued. And this story didn’t fit that mold.
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