AP: Ohio's Turndown of Union Limits a National Story, But Not Rejection of ObamaCare
Perhaps partially explaining the treatment of Ohio's ballot issues on shows like MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters earlier today, I have found that the Associated Press predictably trumpeted the 61%-39% rejection of Issue 2, which would have required cost-sharing for public-sector employee health and pension benefits while curbing the scope of collective bargaining, as a big national story. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, the AP only devoted six snarky paragraphs in a regionally carried story to Issue 3, which won by a 66%-34% margin and passed by comfortable majorities in all 88 Buckeye State counties. Also known as the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, Issue 3 put prohibitions of Obamacare's mandates to buy health insurance and participate in a health care plan into Ohio's constitution.
First, excerpts from the Issue 2 story by the wire service's Sam Hananel out of, ahem, Washington:
Ohio vote shows unions still a political force
Labor unions are celebrating one of their biggest victories in decades after turning back an Ohio law that curbed collective bargaining rights for the state's public workers. The vote showed unions are still a potent political force that can't be ignored.
The question for many is whether to interpret Tuesday's Ohio referendum as simply a rejection of Republican overreach in a heavily unionized state or more broadly as a barometer of a battleground state that could resonate with voters nationwide.
Union leaders say they hope it brings about a resurgence for a labor movement long in decline and sends a strong message to other states where lawmakers are thinking about restricting union rights. But they also want to use the outcome as a spark to help re-elect President Barack Obama and put more Democrats in office next year.
"I think the outcome is an absolute momentum-shifting victory for the labor movement," said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters.
... By a nearly 2-1 margin, Ohio voters repealed a new law that would have severely limited the bargaining rights of more than 350,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state employees.
Sorry, Sam, 61.33% to 38.67% is not "nearly 2-1." Actually, it's 1.59-to-1, which is much closer to "3-2."
What is really close to 2-to-1 is Issue 3's victory margin of 65.63% to 34.37%, which works out to 1.91-to-1. AP could only spare six snide paragraphs which as far as I can tell it did not put over its national wire about its victory:
Voters in Ohio have approved a ballot measure intended to keep government from requiring Ohioans to participate in any health care system.
The constitutional amendment passed is largely symbolic, coming in response to the 2009 federal health care overhaul, a provision of which mandates that most Americans purchase health care.
... Opponents argued state law can't trump federal law and that the amendment's wording could unintentionally jeopardize state health programs.
As to the Issue 3 victory being "symbolic" -- someone's going to have to take what was called the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment out of Ohio's constitution if they don't like it. Symbolic, schmymbolic.
No pre-election poll predicted that Issue 3 would come anywhere near winning by more than Issue 2 lost. But it did. It would also seem to be a lot more important to those who follow the news that President Obama's signature initiative was resoundingly rejected and put into a state's constitution than the fact -- even considering parallel issues in Wisconsin -- that a statewide attempt at cost control and collective-bargaining reform went down.
But then again, my take on things, and for that matter the take of most people, is not exactly the same as that of the AP -- The Administration's Press.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.