On Wednesday, all three network morning shows found time to tout the defeat of an Ohio law curbing union power in Tuesday's election, while ignoring passage of another ballot initiative that made the ObamaCare heath insurance mandate illegal in the state.
On NBC's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales declared: "In Ohio, voters rejected a new law that would limit the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 unionized public workers. Labor unions there are calling the news their biggest victory in decades." On ABC's Good Morning America, Josh Elliott similarly announced the "big victory for labor unions." On CBS's The Early Show, Jeff Glor described how "voters handed union workers a victory."
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:
Could this be a watershed week in the Republican presidential primary? Joe Scarborough seems to think so.
On today's Morning Joe, he said something remarkable: that in the last week,stalwart conservatives and "conservative leaders" have begun telling him that they would "rather lose" than elect Mitt Romney. Video after the jump.
The news item I will cite goes back over a week, but the problem surely remains. In light of the ongoing battles over public-sector wages and benefits as well as the taxes which pay for them, it deserves far more attention than it is currently receiving. It follows up on an October 15 post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) where I noted, in reviewing an Associates Press story which originally appeared the previous day, that the State of Illinois' financial inability to pay its vendors on time and the related hardships involved have been mostly getting the establishment press silent treatment, while efforts at fiscal balance in Ohio and Wisconsin largely involving collective-bargaining reforms have been national stories with mostly negative coverage.
An October 20 AP item by Political Writer John O'Connor informs us that who gets paid first is often driven by politicians' pleas instead of place in line. Despite O'Connor's claim that "Republican or Democrat" influence can be involved, he only cited examples involving Democratic lawmakers:
At the Associated Press today, National Writer Jesse Washington attempted to dissect the relative dearth of college degrees earned by African-Americans in "STEM" (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Not that anything he reported was particularly wrong, but in my view he missed the largest contributor to the problem, one that apparently can't be mentioned in polite press company. He used one word -- "uneducated" -- that started to get close but backed away. The five-word phrase he failed to mention, which could usefully carry the acronym "LUPUS":
It's hard to figure out why Tom Krisher at the Associated Press bothered filing a report on the status of contract talks between Detroit's Big 3 automakers and the United Auto Workers. The only reason I can discern is that he wanted to brag about how he and his wire service pals have access to anonymously-sourced info about how the talks are going. Surprise: As has been the case almost always for about the past 30-plus years, It's coming down to the wire with the two sides supposedly far apart at two of the three companies. Knock me over with a feather.
Krisher failed to inform readers of three quite important sets of facts. First (seriously), he never told readers that General Motors and Chrysler workers have no-strike contract clauses prohibiting them from job actions until 2015, i.e., only Ford is financially vulnerable. Second, he failed to note that the government still holds a significant (and probably board-controlling) share of GM, or that a UAW healthcare trust owns 46.5% of Chrysler (down from an original 55%). Finally, because he didn't disclose the ownership stakes, he failed to note the obvious conflict of interest the UAW has in negotiating with Ford, or the possible government-influenced pressure on the union to drive a hard bargain with Ford on GM's behalf.
Rapper Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, has a long record of being a supporter of Democratic and liberal causes. In fact, he was one of many celebrity left-wingers who were invited to President Obama's lavish $40,000 birthday celebration.
When it comes to his own affairs, Carter is like many Hollywood liberals in being unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. Right now, he's engaged in a prolonged confrontation with a carpenter's union for using non-union workers to perform renovations on a New York City club he owns. The union thugs are playing to type as well, parading around giant inflatable rats and calling Carter's employees racist terms.
In the last few weeks, leading Democrats in Congress have called Tea Party constituents terrorists, said they should go to hell and accused them of wanting to lynch black people. Last weekend, at an event attended by President Obama, the head of the Teamsters Union, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., attacked the Tea Party, screaming, "President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of bitches (Tea Party members) out and give America back to an America where we belong." (Note: the president was not on the platform when Hoffa spoke.)
So far, neither the president, nor any prominent Democrat has condemned such remarks — even though the phrase "take out" is commonly used to describe an act of criminal homicide. Thus, Hoffa's statement might rise to the level of incitement to violence.
Barack Obama and Jimmy Hoffa are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Lady Gaga and hype, the "Jersey Shore" cast and hairspray: inseparable. The president can no more disown the Teamsters Union's leader than he can disown his own id.
At a Labor Day rally in Detroit on Monday before Obama spoke, Hoffa stoked anti-tea party hostility by urging his minions to "take these son of a b*tches out." (Botched grammar added that extra boost of street-gang authenticity to the labor lawyer's threat.) The same civility police on the left who decry any references to crosshairs as incitements to violence are now mute about Hoffa's brass-knuckle rhetoric. The Chicagoans in the White House refuse to comment.
Yesterday, at organized labor's traditional Labor Day picnic at Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park, Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address. His key lines, as reported by Carl Weiser at the Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics Extra blog (video is here at MRC-TV): "... this is a different kind of fight. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate! That’s why they want you so bad.”
Biden's statement is in an important aspect more problematic than the more widely (but not sufficiently widely) noted "son of a b*tches" comment made by Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. in Detroit yesterday at a Labor Day event President Obama keynoted. While Hoffa was threatening and hateful, he was at least in theory speaking only for Big Labor (though Obama has essentially adopted it by not condemning it). In Cincinnati, Biden, who was elected to serve all citizens of the country, personally characterized a large plurality of those he is supposed to be serving with a word which means "savage, primitive, uncivilized persons." Biden's "barbarians"comment has received very light establishment press coverage, as did what appears to have been a singularly unimpressive number of people who actually heard his speech:
New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes spent Labor Day with President Obama in Detroit, who spoke at a heavily union rally featuring speakers from organized labor. One of them, Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa, used just the sort of militant rhetoric against the Tea Party that would certainly have been condemned by the Times if coming from Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, or any other conservative politician or activist. Yet Hoffa was completely absent from Calmes’s Tuesday story, “For Obama, a Familiar Labor Day Theme.”
What Hoffa said: "President Obama this is your army!...Everybody here has got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong."
That civility thing which Democrats and the Left thought to be all-important earlier this year is sooooo January. Unless it changes its stripes overnight, the incivility and hostility on display today in Detroit, which hasn't been seen much in establishment press reports to this point, won't appear on the Big 3 Networks' morning shows tomorrow. The American people really need to see what has become of the labor movement, and the type of behavior its head cheerleader in the White House condones.
A year ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly wrote up how Labor Secretary Hilda Solis had produced a Labor Day video which was both a propaganda vehicle glorifying the Obama administration's alleged economic accomplishments and a straw-man attack piece targeting "some who will suggest that, when times are tough, it’s time to get tough on working people."
This year, she's done it again. Working with the thinnest of gruel given the true state of the economy, the video is so pathetic that it's difficult at times to keep from laughing. The political statement I have transcribed after the jump goes from 0:23 to 3:57 of the 4:45 video (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In late July, in a move with some similarities to what yours truly has noted in Wausau, Wis. this week (here, here, and here), the Allegheny County Labor Council of the AFL-CIO in Pittsburgh declined to allow the Steel City's lone Republican candidate for City Council the ability to march in its Labor Day parade.
The differences between Wausau and Pittsburgh are that: a) being picky about who can march is a Pittsburgh parade tradition; b) the Labor Council dubiously claims that it underwrites the event (the city of Wausau has always paid for theirs); c) The Pittsburgh parade has since morphed into a highly partisan "March for Jobs."
In Wausau, Wisconsin, after being told by the town's mayor that it couldn't exclude GOP politicians from a Labor Day parade unless it reimbursed the city for its out-of-pocket costs (noted Tuesday night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Marathon County Labor Council reversed its earlier decision and will allow them to participate.
On Sunday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that "GOP politicians aren't welcome in this year's Labor Day parade" in Wausau, Wisconsin, because, according to the Marathon County Central Labor Council, which until today apparently thought it was the only sponsor of said parade, "organizers choose not to invite elected officials who have openly attacked worker's rights."
The Labor Council found out today from Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple that they are not the parade's only sponsor, as a video replay of a local station's news segment at Breitbart (HT to NB commenter "DaChew") informs us (transcript follows the jump; bolds are mine throughout):
In his coverage of the Department of Labor's weekly report on unemployment claims this morning, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber, after noting how initial claims filed by Communications Workers of America members who are on strike against Verizon (more on that later) inflated this week's and last week's results, wrote that "excluding the work stoppage, layoffs appear to be stabilizing. That should help ease fears that the economy is on the verge of a recession."
The following chart, which excludes those workers' claims during the past two weeks, doesn't exactly give wholehearted support to Rugaber's key contentions:
Well, the extent to which this one gets nationally noticed should be interesting.
Yesterday, at a high school gym in Inglewwood, California, at what was billed as a "Kitchen Table Summit," as seen in a video currently showing at both MRC-TV and Breitbart, Congresswoman Maxine Waters said, "As far as I'm concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell." The crowd, reportedly "more than 2,000 people," cheered her statement.
Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber recently referred me to a week-old item at the odious, leftism uber alles Toledo Blade. Written by "Blade Staff" (can't say I can blame anyone for not wanting to put their name on this disgrace), it described a violent shooting incident which took place in Lambertville, a town in Monroe County, Michigan just north of the Glass City.
If you knew nothing else about the event and only relied on the Blade's story, you would think that what occurred was some kind of random act of violence:
On the August 15 "Dylan Ratigan Show," MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan and the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney sparred over the extent to which Big Labor impacts the political process relative to other industries.
Ratigan, who has made a career out of bemoaning the influence that the energy, banking, health care, defense, telecom, and agriculture sectors exert on politics, omitted organized labor from his exhaustive (exhausting?) list. After Carney pointed out that labor unions collectively direct more campaign contributions to political candidates than any other industry in the country, Ratigan sternly corrected him: "That's not right. You can't invent facts...that's a great distortion of facts to make it look like labor controls the government."
On Friday I noted an AP report about some trouble within the Democratic Party coalition as some labor unions have threatened to boycott the 2012 nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I wondered if the major mainstream media outlets would report the news. Unfortunately it appears many haven't. A search of major newspapers published between August 12 and 15 and featuring the words "labor" and "Charlotte" failed to turn up any hits in either the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, or Washington Post.
Wednesday evening, the Associated Press's Sam Hananel, with predictable help from Scott Bauer, tried to do a Bing Crosby imitation ("Unions look for silver lining in Wisconsin recalls") in an attempt to "Accentuate the Positive" in reporting on the results of yesterday's attempts to defeat six Republican Badger State Senators in recall elections.
Democrats, leftists, and public-sector unions needed to win three of the six races to tentatively and perhaps only temporarily regain a State Senate majority. They only got two, putting the GOP's temporary majority at 17-16. Temporary? Oh, Hananel "somehow" forgot to tell readers that two electoral attempts to replace Democratic State Senators are taking place next week, and that their retention of those positions is by no means assured.
On the bottom of page A4 in a teaser that reads "Wis. GOP on the ropes," the Washington Post alerted readers to a story on page A4 about how "Six lawmakers are fighting to survive recall challenges spurred by the governor's efforts to weaken unions."
MSNBC host Ed Schultz wants to be taken seriously as a TV host, but he hasn't yet learned not to promote victory for liberal Democrats before the results are all in. On Tuesday night, even after the polls closed, Schultz was touting a possible Democratic wave. Twice, he proclaimed before his 10 pm show came on that Democrats were "brilliant on the basics" in the Wisconsin ground game -- before they lost four and won two.
At 6 pm, Schultz told Al Sharpton "And if the Democrats are successful tonight, it is really the template on how to get it done. I mean, I think that the progressives in this state, as profound as it is, they have been brilliant on the basics. They have gone door to door. They have talked to their neighbors. They have taken people by the hand to do what they've got to do."
You can already see the apologia coming on this one -- Rachel Maddow never actually said that seven towns in Wisconsin are named Union in homage to labor unions.
Which is true, she didn't. Instead, it could not be more obvious that Maddow implied this, with trademark smarm, and more than once at that.
Maddow did so for the first time on her MSNBC show back in February, during the battle over a proposed state budget, since enacted, that would limit collective bargaining by public workers. This was happening, Maddow said, in a place that has long epitomized labor rights. As evidence, Maddow showed a map of Wisconsin with arrows pointing to seven towns named Union (video after page break) --
I've been trying to resist taking satisfaction in David Cay Johnston's utter humiliation on his first assignment at Reuters. Y'know, there but for the grace of God, etc. I do wish him well, though I question whether the feeling is mutual. More important, I hope he recognizes the need to go into journalistic rehab. My guess is that he doesn't.
The former New York Times journalist/reporter (whatever, David) and yours truly had an extended online dustup four years ago when I demonstrated Johnston's in my view sloppy, foundation-limited, and biased reporting at the Old Gray Lady (graphic of first few paragraphs as originally presented; current link) in an item about what had happened to Americans' incomes between 2000 and 2005 (errors summarized here in "Top Six Errors Committed by David Cay Johnston and/or the New York Times in Their Income Growth Report"; I noted a seventh later).
Let's go through the development and destruction of Johnston's maiden effort at Reuters.
In their Sunday evening coverage of the Minnesota government shutdown, Associated Press reporters Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti failed to mention any form of the word "tax," failed to mention "spending" in the context of government outlays, and fretted that a prolonged shutdown might cause a "brain drain" from state government.
The failure to bring up taxes is clearly the item's most egregious oversight, since the shutdown is all about taxes, specifically Democratic Governor Mark Dayton's refusal to sign a state budget that doesn't contain tax increases on high income-earners.