CBS Decides Wisconsin State Workers Underpaid, FNC Shows Doctor’s Notes Scam

CBS on Monday night tried to corroborate the case for the position on protesting Wisconsin state union workers, claiming without citing any source that they earn less than comparable private sector works, while FNC put the union workers in a less oppressed light, showing how “apparent doctors” were “handing out doctor’s notes for sick days. Our undercover producer got a medical excuse, no illness necessary.”

CBS’s Cynthia Bowers touted “high school history teacher Amanda Bazan, of Deerfield Wisconsin,” who “took a personal day to get her students to the protests.” Bazan insisted: “They were learning about democracy firsthand.” Bowers relayed how “the single mom has been teaching 13 years and earns $41,000,” and while “public sector workers in Wisconsin do make slightly more in salary and benefits than the average private sector worker,” that's “because nearly twice as many of them have college degrees necessary for high-skilled jobs.” Without any citation from her or on screen, Bowers maintained:

When education and other factors are considered, two recent studies found public sector employees end up earning less than their counterparts in the private sector. In Wisconsin, nearly five percent less. Nationally seven percent less.

Surely not considered in whatever studies those were, the value of a guaranteed job which means those with a government job never have times in their careers when they are unemployed.

FNC wasn’t in the tank for the unions. On Special Report with Bret Baier :

MIKE TOBIN: Controversy started over the weekend when apparent doctors, some linked to the University of Wisconsin, were handing out doctor’s notes for sick days. Our undercover producer got a medical excuse, no illness necessary.

DOCTOR: You have to give me the days that you’ve been sick and had to miss work.

PRODUCER: Last Thursday.

DOCTOR: Okay.

PRODUCER: And so we’re probably going to go through next Tuesday, if that’s okay.

DOCTOR: Okay. Yeah, a lot of people have been sick in the same way.

From the Monday, February 21 CBS Evening News:

HARRY SMITH: Politicians and labor leaders all over the country are paying close attention to what's happening at Wisconsin's statehouse. Today both sides in that high-stakes budget battle dug in a little further and what's happening there could play out in many other states. From Madison, here's Cynthia Bowers.

PROTESTERS: Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.

CYNTHIA BOWERS: On the seventh day of protests, neither side appeared ready to back down.

PROTESTERS: Scott Walker has got to go! Hey hey, ho ho!

BOWERS: Scott Walker's plan would require most of the state's public employees to pay more for their pension and health care. Many workers say they'll grudgingly accept that, but they won't accept his plan to ban unions from bargaining on issues other than wages.

AMANDA BAZAN, HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER: -union power. It's the right to be in the union and the right to protect my job and have a say in what I do everyday.

BOWERS: High school history teacher Amanda Bazan, of Deerfield Wisconsin, took a personal day to get her students to the protests.

BAZAN: They were learning about democracy firsthand.

BOWERS: The single mom has been teaching 13 years and earns $41,000.

What do you say to taxpayers who say, you know what? This has been a great ride for everybody but we just really can't afford to keep footing the bill?

BAZAN: We've already given up things. We don't have a cushy ride. I'm not getting rich off becoming a teacher.

BOWERS: In fact, public sector workers in Wisconsin do make slightly more in salary and benefits than the average private sector worker. In part that's because nearly twice as many of them have college degrees necessary for high-skilled jobs. When education and other factors are considered, two recent studies found public sector employees end up earning less than their counterparts in the private sector. In Wisconsin, nearly five percent less. Nationally seven percent less. But the Governor's supporters say his plan is what the majority wants.

NATHAN FRIEDL, TEA PARTY MEMBER: I think the real message was sent in November, people coming out and voting and voting very distinctly for the Governor.

BOWERS: As for tomorrow, Wisconsin teachers are supposed to be back in the classroom. Republican lawmakers will be back in session here. The big unknown is whether those 14 missing Democrats who fled the state five days ago to delay a vote on the Governor’s plan, will come back too.

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center