Reuters correspondent Andrea King Collier offered readers a heavily-slanted 27-paragraph story last evening about Michigan Republican lawmakers pushing a right-to-work bill in the state legislature. King Collier quoted only one proponent of the legislation -- Gov. Rick Snyder -- who was described as a "reluctant supporter of the measure," unlike "other Republican governors who have championed curbs on unions." Snyder sounded apologetic for the legislature's action, quoted by King Collier as saying "that issue was on the table whether I wanted it to be there or not."
By contrast, King Collier quoted three critics of the legislation: a union boss, an Obama White House spokesman, and a teacher's union member who was on hand outside the state capitol in Lansing to protest the bills under consideration.
While it's not fair to criticize the press's coverage of November's vehicle sales as unfair or not balanced, it would be more than fair to say that the press is either ignoring or minimizing the impact of two important influences which have been at work all year. The first is the continued loss of combined market share at the industry's two US-headquartered makers, General Motors and Ford (Chrysler, the other member of Detroit's "Big 3," is owned by Fiat).
The second is that 2009 government bailout beneficiary GM continues to "channel-stuff" its dealers with vehicles they won't sell for four months or longer -- and that's if the economy doesn't slow down or go into a recession. Dealer inventories are now twice as high as they were three years ago -- and no, GM's sales haven't doubled in the meantime -- which makes one wonder, especially this fall, if it was being done solely to make the government and President Obama look good.
Tonight's fun facts relate to the strike by the group a Reuters report describes as "500 clerical workers at the ports, members of the relatively small Office of Clerical Union Workers" at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The strikers' picket lines have been honored by "some 10,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union."
These fun facts are rarely mentioned, but readers will want to learn them, and the rest of the country also should be quite interested. Though they could conceivably be elsewhere, I only found them mentioned in one Associated Press item from two days ago currently carried at Google News. It's a good thing it's there, because it appears to be gone from the AP's national web site. In fact, a search there at 11 p.m. ET on "Los Angeles ports" (not in quotes) came up empty. The fun fact is not in the aforementioned Reuters story, a very long AP story from November 28 found at the San Jose Mercury News, or a related November 30 New York Times story. The fun facts, and a link to the AP story, are after the jump:
A week after the staff of Good Morning America joked about the impending closure of Hostess and the loss of 18,000 jobs, the crew at GMA switched to bashing the Hostess executives and sympathizing with the recently laid off employees, ignoring the role unions played in the collapse.
On Friday’s GMA, co-host Josh Elliott introduced the segment by reporting on new data showing corporate profits have hit an all-time high of $1.75 trillion, then smugly commenting that, “of course not everyone sharing in that wealth.” This led into Elliott bringing in the bankruptcy proceedings at Hostess where he said, “unlike the rank and file, the company's executives are about to score a major payday.” [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
The third page of an unbylined report with an early Saturday time stamp credited to "USA Today" carried at the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger (like USAT, a Gannett Company) claimed that "Walmart heiress Alice Walton expressed solidarity with Walmart's striking workers."
Putting aside whether or not an action taken by what the company estimated may have been fifty associates is a "strike" or a "temper tantrum," the claim was not true. USA Today fell for a hoax. Following the jump are several paragraphs from the Clarion Ledger report and an LA Times writeup identifying the hoax. Additionally, I learned that Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum was the object of Occupy and union movement protests when it opened a year ago.
In a Friday report at the Associated Press on Friday with a celebratory headline ("2 YEARS AFTER IPO, GM IS PILING UP CASH"), Auto Writer Tom Krisher described bailed-out General Motors as "thriving," but didn't identify one of the important reasons for that characterization.
In paragraphs about the company's profitability and cash stockpile, Krisher failed to note that the company still hasn't paid any U.S. income taxes since emerging from bankruptcy, or why that's the case (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Yesterday, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka may have broken a modern record for chutzpah exhibited by a labor leader Friday in criticizing management's decision at bankrupt snack maker Hostess Brands to liquidate in the wake of irreconcilable issues with its unions. In a Friday afternoon report at Politico, Kevin Cirilli not only let Trumka get away with it; he also lent the labor leader's contentions additional misleading support.
Trumka blamed the company's apparently imminent demise on "Bain-style Wall Street vultures." He wants everyone to believe that it's greedy, eeeevil Republican private-equity types who are on the brink of putting yet another company out of business. The "clever" framing of that quoted phrase appears to indicate that Trumka already knew better. It seems very likely that Cirilli also knew better. Three hours before the initial time stamp of Cirilli's report, Zero Hedge re-exposed the heavy involvement of D-D-D-Democrats in Hostess's management and advisors originally documented way back in july at CNNMoney by David Kaplan (additional paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Someone needs to tell Emily Jane Fox that for workers refusing to do scheduled work assigned by their employers to be engaging in a "strike" ("a concerted stopping of work or withdrawal of workers' services, as to compel an employer to accede to workers' demands or in protest against terms or conditions imposed by an employer") there needs needs to be enough of them to matter. If there aren't, it's pretty much a small group of people conducting a (conceivably justified) protest.
As Fox described it in her Thursday report at CNNMoney.com about a group of Wal-Mart employees workers planning a Black Friday walkout -- which, if large enough, may qualify for "strike" status -- what happened in October appears to have been little more than a tiny temper tantrum:
Though it occupies four web pages, it's hard to avoid thinking that Alex Isenstadt at Politico is hoping news consumers only look at his story's headline ("Democrats' drive to retake House falters") and not its damning yet still woefully incomplete content.
The headline would make you think that Dems will gain seats, but not enough to achieve a majority. Isenstadt bravely concludes early on that "Democrats are expected to pick up five seats at best ... (and) might even lose ground and drop one or two seats to the Republican majority. But the rest of his writeup virtually screams "double-digit losses," and fails in several respects to properly assign blame for what appears to be an impending Democratic Party debacle (bolds are mine):
Just in case objective journalism wasn’t dead enough, the Newspaper Guild is making sure of it. The Guild’s San Francisco-area chapter’s latest intern program aims to teach college students “social justice” in journalism.
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
The Washington Post Sports section on Wednesday turned political with an article headlined "Wisconsin governor fumbles on Twitter: Walker sees collective bargaining in a new light after Packers' loss." Would the Post actually fail to recognize the difference between private-sector unions and public-sector unions, the subject of Walker's reforms? Yes.
Strangely, the author wasn't a sports reporter. It was Brad Plumer, a veteran writer for The New Republic and Mother Jones whose usual Post habitat is Ezra Klein's Wonkblog. In fact, that's where this article is found online. Plumer joked "When it comes to professional football, the usual rules of politics apparently take a timeout."
As the Chicago teachers’ strike continues, let's review what we've learned, no thanks to the broadcast media, which downplayed the story. We know that on average Windy City educators make $71-76,000 a year and they've turned down a 16 percent pay increase, which amounts to $11,360. We know that they contribute only a tiny sliver of their pay, 3 percent, to their retirement package, and we know, because the media keep insisting on this, that teacher evaluations are supposedly the major sticking point in negotiations.
If you tried to get a handle on the showdown between Chicago Public Schools and its teachers' union based on picture captions from the Associated Press, you would think that the teachers' strike has nothing to do with money.
The reality is that Chicago's teachers are, depending on the figures quoted, either the highest-paid cadre of K-12 educators in the nation or so darned close to it that their current demand for a 16% increase over the next four years (down from an original 35%, as Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters noted earlier today) will put them easily 10% ahead of any group of teachers anywhere else in the nation. With that in mind, let's look at the content of the various picture captions I located as I reviewed the wire service's latest strike-related stories.
Reporting from Chicago this afternoon on MSNBC, NBC News reporter Kevin Tibbles described yesterday's teachers union picket lines as "festive" occasions but worried that the mood may sour if an accord is not reached soon.
Yet while other media outlets have reported and confirmed that the Chicago teachers union had requested a 35 percent pay hike, Tibbles completely ignored the issue of pay, insisting the teachers union is concerned most with teacher evaluation policies.
Less than 48 hours from now, Chicago's teachers, whose union head insists, as quoted by the Associated Press, that "we are here to negotiate for better schools in Chicago," may walk off the job, leaving the children entrusted to them to languish in half-days of activities unrelated to learning "staffed by non-union and central office workers."
There seems to be an unwritten rule that news coverage of these matters not discuss the current earnings of those who are threatening to strike. In a writeup of over 900 words, AP writers Tammy Webber and Don Babwin stuck to that script, and also failed to tell their readers the size of the raise union negotiators initially requested. Those two figures follow the jump.
The Politico, in its report on what turned out to be the center-right's "Empty Chair Day," covered the reaction of one prominent member of organized labor to Clint Eastwood's supposedly horrible (if you believe leftist pundits) speech at the Republican National Convention.
If it was really that awful, they would be taking pity on Clint. Instead, they're getting hostile, meaning that the Hollywood Academy Award winner really got under their skin, as seen in an understated report by the online web site's Tim Mak and Juana Summers (bolds are mine througout this post):
Since Mitt Romney is supposedly responsible for the death from cancer of a woman who died in 2006, seven years after the presumptive GOP nominee left Bain Capital, it seems more than fair to talk about what has resulted from the Obama administration's blatant favoritism towards UAW members while shafting former Delphi salaried workers.
Tonight, the Associated Press's Adwatch entry by Stephen Braun actually calls out the Obama super-PAC Priorities USA, specifically saying that the assertion by Joe Soptic, the woman's widower, "that Romney bears some blame in his wife's death is not backed up factually in the ad." Fair enough, but, especially because it was in the news today, let's look at the Delphi situation.
Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) I critiqued a short Associated Press item posted earlier Monday by reporter John Hanna which seemed quite alarmed at the notion that "Conservatives in Republicans are turning against moderates in their own party."
Hanna expanded his report on Monday. Its apparently final version, time-stamped at 5:16 p.m. at the AP's national site, goes further into describing those scary conservatives who want Republicans who will act on principle instead of just going along. What follows are excerpts from material added after the initial report:
Donnie Box, a steelworker in Missouri who lost his job and is the focus of an anti-Mitt Romney advertisement being run by a Super PAC that supports President Barack Obama, now says he will not vote to re-elect the president in November.
"I could really care less about Obama," the lifelong Democrat says in an article written by Mike Elk on the In These Times website before criticizing the president as "a jerk, a pantywaist, a lightweight, a blowhard. He hasn’t done a goddamn thing that he said he would do," he complained, adding:
The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.
The President is running in large part on the bailout’s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed “success.” And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama’s signature vehicle.
The AFL-CIO has not been bashful about its support for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. And the union giant recently posted an article by Tula Connell hyping a booklet entitled “Economics 101 for the 99%.” The booklet was produced for the Occupiers by a socialist group called the Center for Popular Economics.
Connell wrote that the booklet will clarify “such concepts as the role of the Federal Reserve and the so-called austerity war.” The booklet is intended to “to help the ‘99%’ make a coherent argument for why we need to change our economic course.”
With its early retirement age and perpetually striking unions, the idea that the average Greek is lazy has a lot of truth to it. But things are not quite as simple as that. In fact, Greeks are a lot more hardworking than you would think. The stereotype is partially true, however:
Last year, Harry Reid said pretty close to the same thing President Obama said on Friday about the health of the nation's private sector. Obama claimed that "The private sector is fine." On the Senate floor on October 19, Reid claimed that "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine."
Don't feel bad if you don't know this, because the press mostly ignored it. The few who did notice it worked mightily to excuse it. One of the chief excusers was Pete Kasperowicz at the Hill:
Wisconsin's reforming Republican Gov. Scott Walker easily turned back a recall attempt by labor activists angry at him for ending collective bargaining for public service unions. But the New York Times, pushing its own agenda, would prefer the story to be about the "stunning amount" of money in politics. The Times and other media have obsessed over the big spending by Walker supporters, which is rather galling considering that it was the left responsible for holding this election in the first place. Also absent: credit to Tea Party activists.