In January 2015, Oxfam, a large charity organization seeking to eliminate poverty, published a report stating that 1% of the global population will own more wealth than the rest of the 99% combined by 2016. This report drew attention to the World Economic Forum held in Switzerland, where the wealthy elite and politicians addressed the issue of the widening wealth gap.
Additionally, the report also claims that the proportion of global wealth owned by the 1% will increase from 44% in 2009 and 48% in 2014 to 50% in 2016. The disproportionate distribution of global wealth is alarming because it correlates to a disproportionate amount of resources, including political power, being allocated to the 99% of people who do not have a stake in the global economy. Oxfam proceeds to outline a seven-point plan that governments can take under advisement to create new policies that will combat poverty and economic inequality.
Corporate coverage of this story has been minimal. No written coverage was found, however, a few corporate television networks, including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, FOX, and CSPAN covered this story, according to the TV News Archive. CNN had the most coverage with approximately seven recordings from January 19-25, 2015. A few of the CNN stories were presented early in the morning, around 2-3 am. Other stories focused on Obama’s push for tax reform. CBS and MSNBC only ran the story four times between 1-4 am, collectively, on January 20-21, 2015, with the exception of one MSNBC story, which ran on February 2, 2015 at 12 pm. ABC covered the story once on January 19, 2015. FOX also only covered the story once on January 19, 2015, and questioned Oxfam’s motives behind releasing the report right before the World Economic Forum. CSPAN showed coverage of the US Senate using the report to condemn the wealth gap on February 25, 2015. Many of the televised news stories were brief, presented at odd hours (either late at night or early in the morning when not that many people were watching), questioned the report, and/or focused on Obama’s tax reforms rather than the contents of the Oxfam report. In contrast to the independent written story, none of the televised stories mentioned the details of the Oxfam report, such as the proposed seven-point plan. Also, no one from Oxfam or the World Economic Forum was interviewed or quoted.
Larry Elliott and Ed Pilkington, “New Oxfam Report Says Half of Global Wealth Held by the 1%,” The Guardian, January 19, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/19/global-wealth-oxfam-inequality-davos-economic-summit-switzerland.
Hardoon, Deborah, “Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More,” Oxfam GB, Policy & Practice, January 19, 2015, http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/wealth-having-it-all-and-wanting-more-338125.
Student Researcher: Inna Tounkel (Scripps College)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Pomona College)