Today Show Calls GOP 'Surprise' Vote in Wisconsin an 'Outrage'
NBC's Meredith Vieira opened Thursday's Today show alerting viewers that Republicans in Wisconsin had caused a "capitol chaos" with a "surprise maneuver" to pass a "controversial budget proposal without Democrats" and her colleague Ann Curry, in teasing a John Yang story, did her one better calling the vote an "outrage."
In the ensuing Yang piece, headlined: "Outrage In Wisconsin, Senate Republicans Cut Union Rights, Bypass Democrats" Yang never bothered to mention the reason Republicans passed the bill "without Democrats" was because they were hiding out, but he did make sure to include footage of protesters repeatedly chanting "Shame!"
The following teasers and Yang segment were aired on the March 10 Today show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA, OPENING THE SHOW: Capitol chaos!
(Footage of protesters chanting, "Shame! Shame! Shame!")
VIEIRA: Republican senators rushed out of Wisconsin's capitol building under police escort after they used a surprise maneuver to pass that controversial budget proposal without Democrats present. And this morning demonstrators are planning another massive rally to voice their anger.
ANN CURRY: We turn now to that outrage, you just heard about in Wisconsin, where the Republican controlled senate voted last night to cut collective bargaining rights for public employees. NBC's John Yang joins us from Madison with more. Hey John, good morning.
[On screen headline: "Outrage In Wisconsin, Senate Republicans Cut Union Rights, Bypass Democrats"]
JOHN YANG: Good morning, Ann. This morning's paper tells the story. "Capitol Shocker." Democrats left pondering their next move, this morning, now that the Republicans seemed to have figured out a way to outfox them.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a violation of law!
YANG: With Wisconsin's 14 senate Democrats still out of state, Republicans abruptly ended the standoff over public workers Wednesday night, using a procedural maneuver to vote on key parts of the bitterly contested bill. The debate that roiled for three weeks was over in just 30 minutes. As lawmakers voted, thousands of protesters clogged the state capitol with a simple one word chant: "Shame!"
(Footage of protesters chanting "Shame!")
YANG: For weeks the capitol has been ground zero in a battle over union rights for state workers. In an 18-1 vote, with no Democrats present, Republicans removed all spending measures from the bill that kept sharp its most controversial components: Sharp limits on collective bargaining rights for state workers with increases in their health care and pension costs. Republican Governor Scott Walker, who says the bill is needed to help close the state's $3.6 billion deficit, praised the senate Republicans saying, "I applaud the Legislature's action to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction." Senate Republicans needed a police escort as they left the capitol after sending the bill to the state assembly where it's expected to pass today. Despite the protesters, senate Democrats concede it's a done deal. The next step could be to the courts. The Democrats allege that or maintain that last night's vote was illegal. Ann?
CURRY: Alright John Yang this morning. John, thanks.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here