ABC, CBS and NBC's morning shows on Wednesday offered a scant 41 seconds to a major Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling permitting the state's collective bargaining law to go into effect. These are the same networks that, just four months ago, praised the "people power" of the liberal protesters and ignored signs comparing conservatives to Nazis.
On February 20, This Week host Christiane Amanpour compared events in the Middle East to protests in the U.S.: "This week: people power making history...Populist frustration is boiling over this week, as we’ve said not just in the Middle East but in the middle of this country as well." On Wednesday, ABC's Good Morning America skipped the latest ruling entirely.
Also on February 20, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams sounded a similar theme, linking riots in Egypt against a dictatorial government to "the uprising at home." He gushed, "From the Mideast to the American Midwest tonight, people are rising up. Citizens uprisings are changing the world."
In addition to fawning over union protesters, the networks in February avoided discussing the hateful signs that some of the marchers carried. From February 17 to the 21, there were 53 stories on the topic. None of them elicited a single comment from the network correspondents. A February 22 MRC Media Reality Check explained:
Over the past several days, the liberal demonstrations in Wisconsin (bolstered by the national Democratic Party and President Obama’s Organizing for America group) have included signs just as inflammatory as the ones that bothered the networks during the health care debate, including several showing Governor Scott Walker as Adolph Hitler. Others have likened Walker to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (“Scott Stalin”) and recently deposed Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak (“Walker = Mubarak”).
What coverage there was on Wednesday proved to be very curt. On the Early Show, Jeff Glor noted, "The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a controversial law that dramatically curtails bargaining rights for many public employee union workers."
Natalie Morales on the Today show revealed, "Wisconsin's hotly contested so-called anti-union law goes into effect today after the state supreme court ruled that a judge who had voided the law was acting outside of her authority."
A transcript of the two June 15 news briefs can be found below:
The Early Show
7:15 am EDT
JEFF GLOR: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a controversial law that dramatically curtails bargaining rights for many public employee union workers. The debate over labor rights sparked weeks of demonstrations, and protesters returned to the Wisconsin State Capitol yesterday. Republican Governor Scott walker says the law is needed to address the state's $3.6 billion budget deficit.
7:03am EDT20 seconds
NATALIE MORALES: Wisconsin's hotly contested so-called anti-union law goes into effect today after the state supreme court ruled that a judge who had voided the law was acting outside of her authority. The decision will strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, a plan that the Governor says is needed to address the state's budget shortcomings.