In response to a question from Klein about "the animosity between unions and workplaces" (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:
We grew up in that culture. In the '30s, people didn't want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It's not viewed through that light anymore.
NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, on Tuesday's Today show, had no problem labeling Republican governors like Scott Walker, "conservative," but for some reason just couldn't get his lips to utter the word "liberal" when referring to the President.
In a piece about Barack Obama meeting with the nation's governors, Todd observed that in his first two years in office "when the President was desperate for bipartisan support" he turned "to some Republican governors but a lot of the moderates are gone among that group" adding that now there was "a conservative force in the states." Todd then went on to note that moderate Republicans like Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger were being replaced by "conservative warriors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker" but he never attached a single liberal label to the President or any of his policies.
Last May when a CBS News poll first asked about Arizona’s immigration enforcement law and found majority support for it (52 percent), the CBS Evening News didn’t report the finding. Two months later, when backing jumped five points higher, the newscast gave it a sentence. And a month after that, when those favoring the Arizona law had risen to 59 percent in August, the evening newscast ignored that number and instead focused on how “Americans oppose building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero,” a story the network used to castigate Americans, pivoting to how that opposition and “controversies over new mosques in Wisconsin and Kentucky have led some to question is America becoming Islamophobic, a prejudice against Muslims?”
Now, with a CBS News/New York Times survey finding the public in sync with the CBS newsroom, and out of sync with conservatives, Katie Couric trumpeted in teasing Monday’s program: “Our new poll finds most Americans oppose cutting the pay, benefits and union rights of public employees.” She soon announced: “In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, 56 percent of Americans say they oppose cutting the pay and benefits of public workers to reduce state budget deficits and 60 percent oppose taking away collective bargaining rights.”
Since the budget battle began in Wisconsin, so-called journalists have attacked Governor Scott Walker as a union-busting shill representing big corporate donors such as the Koch brothers.
The much bigger story media have ignored - that the 14 Democrat senators who fled the state all have serious financial connections to public employees and unions - was revealed Monday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The campaign by pro-union demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin to silence Fox News and prevent it from reporting continued over the weekend. Protesters did their best to prevent FNC's Mike Tobin from reporting on the protests, all the while shouting - apparently oblivious to the irony - "Fox News lies!"
A few protesters even struck Tobin, though he later downplayed the assault, and said he had declined to press charges. Another protester threatened to break Tobin's neck, he said during one report.
"I find the whole thing a terrific distraction, and terribly frustrating, because I want to cover the story," Tobin told Fox News Radio host Scott Allen Miller on Monday. Tobin brushed off the physical abuse he says he has endured from a few protesters, and insisted that the real frustration was being "harassed with every live shot" (video below the break via J$P).
A group of hackers attacked the website of conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity on Monday. The attack used a simple but effective method known as a distributed denial of service attack.
The group, which calls itself "Anonymous", has attacked a number of websites in recent months that it perceives as political enemies. Those have included the websites of MasterCard and Amazon, apparently targeted for their opposition to the online whistleblower organization WikiLeaks.
Anonymous posted an over-the-top, conspiratorial press release on its website, addressed to the "Citizens of the United States of America". The release stated, in part (no links for cyber-criminals - Google it to find the full statement, if you wish):
Joe Scarborough's "intuitive gut reaction" to the mess in Wisconsin is that Gov. Walker's holdout against union pleas for collective bargaining "seems kind of un-American" to him. It supposedly pained the self-described small-government conservative to say it, but he held to his opinion on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"I'm going to get killed for saying this," Scarborough hesitantly prefaced his confession. "I'm going to get so killed for saying this – I hate to say this, but the concept of telling people that they cannot come together to negotiate with a government – it just kind of seems un-American to me."
The "Morning Joe" panel was covering the latest updates on the standoff in Wisconsin between Gov. Walker and the public sector unions, who are willing to compromise on some demands but want to keep their ability to collectively bargain. Walker still refuses to meet their demands, saying that unions' historic abuse of collective bargaining power contributed to the budget mess his state is now in.
The New York Times took pains over the weekend to emphasize the nonviolent nature of the ongoing pro-union protests in Madison, over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining for government unions and increase the amount they pay for their health care and pension plans.
From Monday’s report by Richard Oppel in Madison on Wisconsin state authorities capitulating to protester demands they be allowed to remain overnight in the Capitol:
Union leaders say one of the strengths of the demonstrations has been that despite harsh language and personal attacks directed at Mr. Walker, the protesters had been loud but nonviolent.
At the top of Saturday's CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cheered unions protests across the country: "Workers uniting. 50 rallies are planned in 50 states today, as organizers show solidarity with Wisconsin state workers, fighting to preserve their right to collectively bargain for benefits and work conditions."
Introducing the segment later, fellow co-host Rebecca Jarvis noted how the protests were organized by MoveOn.org. Rather than accurately label the organization as left-wing, she simply referred to it as "an advocacy group." In the report that followed, correspondent Cynthia Bowers announced that "workers who are coming to these rallies around the country to support Wisconsin workers are being told to wear those red t-shirts we've become so familiar with." The headline on screen throughout the segment referenced Karl Marx: "Workers of the Nation Unite; 50 State Rallies to Support Union Rights."
NBC's Mike Taibbi, on Saturday's Today show, portrayed the pro-labor union protestors in Wisconsin in almost heroic terms as he hailed "The crowds of overnight campers and protestors keep up their vigils. A weary resolve still evident" and depicted them as victims that were "taking the hits." On the other hand the GOP was painted as the bad guys with Taibbi detailing "Republicans used an obscure rule allowing them to end all debate" and "have tried other means of persuasion, suspending direct deposit of the Democrats' paychecks, even sending state police to several of their local homes."
Taibbi's piece was also peppered with pro-union soundbites including a Democratic state senator calling the budget bill "backwards" and a protestor cheering, "we are getting worn out but we are stronger than ever." Taibbi also aired various clips of protestors chanting "Shame! Shame!" "Scott Walker has got to go!" and "Yes we can" but allowed only one voice of dissent from the other side, with the aforementioned Governor Walker getting a brief clip to announce: "Enough time has passed. It's time to come back and have a vote on this measure."
Barack Obama's new era of civility was over before it began. You wouldn't know it from reading The New York Times, watching Katie Couric or listening to the Democratic manners police. But America has been overrun by foul-mouthed, fist-clenching wildebeests.
Yes, the tea party movement is responsible — for sending these liberal goons into an insane rage, that is. After enduring two years of false smears as sexist, racist, homophobic barbarians, it is grassroots conservatives and taxpayer advocates who have been ceaselessly subjected to rhetorical projectile vomit. It is Obama's rank-and-file "community organizers" on the streets fomenting the hate against their political enemies. Not the other way around.
The new civility demanded by liberals suffered a setback at Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Saturday morning forum this week. As televised on the WORD Network, featured speaker Democratic Wisconsin state Sen. Lena Taylor told a cheering audience that Gov. Scott Walker (R) "got our state for sale like a two-bit. . . " Taylor's PUSH appearance was reported by, among others, the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago's ABC 7 News, and the Huffington Post. None found Taylor's slur worthy of mention.
TAYLOR: It's not acceptable that in this bill where my governor lies and says that it's for his budget, when he's already received all the concessions he needs from workers that he is really just giving away. It's not that our - he says that our state is open for business, he got our state for sale. Ooo. Ooo. Ooo. He got our state for sale like a two-bit. . . OK, hmm, hmm, you know what I was going to say. And it's not acceptable.
The presumptive face of the most biased and propagandist television news outlet in America had some harsh words for the media organization that bests hers in ratings virtually every hour of every day.
In a piece published by the Daily Beast Sunday, Rachel Maddow hypocritically told Howard Kurtz that Fox News has "become a McCarthyite chamber of horrors… You can't really call yourself a news channel if that's what you broadcast":
CNN's Gloria Borger ripped the 87 new Republicans in the House of Representatives in a Thursday commentary on CNN.com for their "arrogance of absolute conviction" in wanting to cut the budget. Borger first labeled this attachment to principle "dangerous," and continued that the "problem" with the freshmen representatives and their allies at the state level was "their conviction that compromise is bad."
The senior political analyst set the tone right away with the title of piece, "The arrogance of the new budget cutters." After noting that "we said we wanted budget cutters, so that's what we have" and the apparent "downright frenzy of rectitude in Washington," Borger stated that those "most convinced of their task are the 87 House Republican newcomers." She shot her first "arrogant" labeled at the freshmen after complimenting them a bit:
Chuck Todd has developed an interesting device to delegitimize support for Gov. Scott Walker, depicting his backers as uneducated, frustrated, blue-collar people who are willing to "lash out at government workers."
Yup, there's no respectable basis to support Walker and his call for reforms on a collective bargaining system that has nearly wrecked Wisconsin and many other states. No, there's just the irrational reaction of the embittered, ignorant masses.
Todd offered his analysis on today's Morning Joe in explaining that the Obama administration is backing off a bold stand on Wisconsin, given its swing-state status.
Catching up with a Thursday night appearance by Senator Rand Paul to plug his new book, Paul’s segment on the Late Show exposed David Letterman as an arrogantly ill-informed ally of Wisconsin’s public employee unions: “Why don't we just raise the taxes and let these folks have their collective bargaining, have their union representation and go back to their jobs? Raise the taxes on the wealthy.”
When Paul tried to educate Letterman about how a small percent of the wealthy pay far more than their fair share, Letterman was an oblivious student as he baselessly countered: “I think there's something wrong with those numbers. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with them.”
Paul had outlined his wish to reduce government spending, prompting Letterman to retort: “What would be so wrong then in terms of leaving the public sector alone and reducing tax benefits for the wealthy and large corporations? Why couldn't you make up your money that way?” (Audio: MP3 clip)
CBS’s Bob Schieffer hit Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from the left on Sunday’s Face the Nation, claiming he has “demonized” teachers and urging him to give some “straight talk” about the necessity to raise taxes.
After asking if he thinks “Governor Walker out there in Wisconsin has gone too far?” in trying to end collective bargaining, Schieffer ludicrously asserted “everybody in this country on all sides of this thinks we need education reform,” but he wanted to know if Christie realized his stance has “demonized teachers and will raise questions in young people's minds as to whether they want to go into the profession?”
“Banal Bob” soon implored Christie with his standard plea: “You have a reputation as a straight talker, I think. Do you believe that the budgetary problems across this country can be resolved without raising taxes?”
As NewsBusters reported, CNN on Thursday named the blogger that prank called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker its "Most Intriguing Person of the Day."
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday, host Howard Kurtz noted the hypocrisy here saying, "If anybody who worked for CNN did what this guy did, they would have been fired" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yesterday was supposed to be a day of massive pro-union demonstrations nationwide designed to give Wisconsin public-sector employee moral support from hordes of their union and non-union "brothers" and "sisters" around the country.
Uh, that's not exactly what transpired.
The establishment press's fallback position in matters such as these when the protesters involved have their sympathies is to cite decent numbers where available, while otherwise referring to "large crowds," leaving it to the imaginations of readers, listeners, and viewers what that really means. Call it "creative crowd reporting." With some slip-ups, the New York Times and the Associated Press each employed this tactic yesterday.
Unfortunately for them, many local reporters did estimate crowd sizes in cities other than Wisconsin's capital of Madison, and they aren't particularly impressive (while still being suspect, as will be seen later). William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection (HT Instapundit) compiled press reports from other cities as follows:
From all appearances, the Associated Press's Scott Bauer has a story, and he's sticking to it -- never mind the facts.
On February 17 (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in an item which mostly told readers that pending legislation would "eliminate collective-bargaining rights," Bauer let a kernel of truth slip into his second-last of nearly 40 paragraphs:
Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.
If "unions still could represent workers," and can still "seek pay increases," then they would still have at least some “collective-bargaining rights.” They wouldn't be as extensive, and perhaps they would be severely limited. But some level of "collective-bargaining rights" would still exist. Therefore, Bauer's claims and implications elsewhere in his report that the legislation would completely "eliminate collective-bargaining rights" were self-evidently false and deceptive.
In a laughably titled story ("Facts overshadowed in debate over union bill") datelined yesterday, Bauer again demonstrates, with assistance from colleague Patrick Condon, that he won't let a silly thing like the truth stand in his way. Each of the following excerpted items implicitly or explicitly asserts that all collective-bargaining rights would end:
The folks at MSNBC should be deeply embarrassed and ashamed of their prime time commentator Rachel Maddow.
Having been exposed by Politifact for lying last week about Wisconsin having a budget surplus, Maddow on Thursday hypocritically defended herself by playing nine cherry-picked words from the broadcast in question while disgracefully calling her critics homophobes (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Tuesday’s NewsBusters’ piece documenting the broadcast networks’ incredible double standard on protests — how reporters zeroed in on inflammatory signs to try and discredit the Tea Party while ignoring similar or worse signs at the left-wing union protests in Wisconsin — garnered national media attention.
On Tuesday evening, nationally-syndicated radio host Mark Levin cited the NewsBusters’ study as proving how the media “are a disgrace, absolute disgrace. You did everything you could to trash the Tea Party movement, and you do everything you can right now to protect the vulgarity and poison of the Left and the thugs in Madison, Wisconsin.” (Full transcript and audio link below.)
On Thursday night, during the “Grapevine” segment of FNC’s Special Report, anchor Bret Baier led off with our study (video and transcript below the fold):
Ed Schultz is a firm believer in the law. Most of the time.
On his radio show yesterday, Schultz demonstrated how he's willing to be flexible when it comes to legalities, especially if it helps those sharing his politics.
Schultz was talking with Democratic state senator Jon Erpenbach, one of the so-called "Wisconsin 14" who have fled the state to avoid voting on what they consider union-busting measures in Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget. After Schultz asked how the absent lawmakers were covering their expenses and Erpenbach said they were paying out of pocket, Schultz suggested this (audio here) --
While NBC was quick to cover a prank phone call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by a left-wing website on Wednesday, it did not give one word of reporting to a video sting earlier this month that showed Planned Parenthood employees agreeing to abortions for hypothetical underage girls involved in sex trafficking.
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News featured a report by correspondent Michael Isikoff, who argued that the prank call on Walker "provided his critics with evidence that his real motivation is what they've been saying all along, to crush public unions." On Thursday's Today, news reader Natalie Morales similarly declared: "Wisconsin Democrats say a recording of a prank call to Governor Scott Walker is proof that he plans to crush public worker unions."
"It's like they have the same writer!" Fox News' Sean Hannity marveled after watching a montage of liberal journalists comparing the labor union protests in Madison, Wisconsin, with the anti-Mubarak demonstrations weeks ago in Cairo.
"Sean, this is really goofy. These reporters should be embarrassed," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell agreed on last night's "Hannity."
"If you want to find a comparison, I'll give you a comparison. What do Mubarak, Qadhafi, and the Democratic legislators have in common?" the Media Research Center founder asked Hannity, answering with the punchline, "They're all in hiding."
Paul Krugman’s New York Times column for Friday, “Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.,” used for both headline and text fodder a book of far-left paranoid propaganda by Naomi Klein to push Krugman’s pet idea: That Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker is trying to make a “power grab” in order “to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy.”
Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad -- specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.
The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.
Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.