Irene Cole: Professional Victim for MSM's Minimum Wage Stories

Do you ever wonder how "a single mother of two from Atlanta" who earns the minimum wage has the dough to plunk down for travel to Washington, D.C., lodging, and child care to attend a left-wing rally? I sure do. But then, it can't be that difficult when you're a professional victim for a left-wing group.

Washington Post reporter Xinyun Yang quoted one Irene Cole of Atlanta, Ga., at the close of his July 25 article "Democrats Cheer Wage Hike." "From $5.15 to $5.85 -- that's... a big raise, and we do thank you," Yang quoted Cole, who attended yesterday's "rally of union and activist groups on Capitol Hill."

Haven't I heard Cole's name before? Oh yeah, I have. It cropped up in January when I wrote about ABC's biased treatment of the minimum wage for the MRC's Business & Media Institute. Reporter Dean Reynolds cited Cole in his report on the January 10 "World News."

After reviewing that story, I realized two things. First, Cole misled the Post's Yang. She earns at least $6-an-hour (when she's working for private employers), and secondly, Cole is no stranger to whipping up crowds at liberal activist rallies (no word how much she's paid or compensated for expenses for her activist work):

To cap off his story, Reynolds introduced viewers to single Atlanta mother Irene Cole, who earned $6 an hour – 17 percent more than minimum wage – at a part-time job and lamented she was “going backwards instead of forward” with her low wages, adding that her paycheck barely covered groceries and bus fare to work.

Full-time workers are more likely to enjoy a larger boost in pay over time than part-time employees like Cole – a fact Reynolds didn’t mention. The ABC correspondent also left out that Cole is politically active in the push to raise the minimum wage.

According to the Athens [Ga.] Banner-Herald, “Cole, a single mother and day laborer from Atlanta” spoke in December at “a news conference put on by the Georgia Minimum Wage Campaign” aiming at pushing state lawmakers to raise the minimum wage.

“Something’s got to give … and it starts with you guys,” Banner-Herald staffer Briana Brough quoted Cole scolding state legislators in attendance at the news conference.

For a frazzled, poor mother of two, Cole sure does get lots of media attention, like this July 24 NPR "News & Notes" interview, Atlanta Progressive News (February 18), and AxcessNews.com (July 25), excerpted below:

(AXcess News) Washington - Irene Cole would like to buy her sons steak for a change, but at more than $11 a package in her grocery store, it's an extravagance her budget just doesn't allow.

Instead, most nights the boys eat chicken.

"It's all I can afford," said Cole, 36, of Atlanta a single mother to two boys, 15 and 16.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters