News stories and editorials which define the rich as “evil” greatly outnumber those which tell the other side of the story. Even those newspaper stories that do mention the good deeds done by the rich are rarely on the front page. As an example, consider the following newspaper [print version] headline:
Somehow the way this headline is written separates the magnanimous and extraordinarily generous character of Bill Gates from the millions of third world recipients of this generosity. His gift is much more than funding a fund. Ultimately his donations will help save millions who would otherwise contract diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.
In a show of faith in the faltering Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Bill Gates donated $750 million to the fund on Thursday.
How much news coverage does a $750 million donation receive? According to my calculations, a full print page in The New York Times is approximately 220 square inches. The amount of space devoted to the Bill Gates story was 25.5 square inches or less than 1/8 of a page. Further the article was positioned not on the front page, but at the very bottom of page A-4.
Just how generous must one be in order to generate any type of positive press about the rich in America? Think of it this way. Those 25.5 square inches cost the equivalent of $29.4 million per square inch of coverage in this story. Yet many of the 99 percenters received front page coverage for merely holding up signs and occupying parks.