Editor's Note: Mr. Bozell will be on Fox News's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" around 4:45 p.m. EDT today to discuss the Wisconsin recall results and may also give his thoughts on last night's Republican presidential debate.
"These [Wisconsin] protests were supposed to be the rebirth of the Left going into the 2012 campaign" and yet when the "unions threw everything they had" they came up short of taking the state senate from Repubilcans, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on today's "Fox & Friends."
Because the effort completely fizzled, it's no surprise the liberal broadcast media spent very little time reporting the results of Tuesday's recall election. "This was a huge Republican victory that nobody heard about," the Media Research Center founder added. [video embedded below page break]
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday ignored the $14 million failure of labor and liberal groups to win back the state senate in Wisconsin through a recall vote. Both CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today covered the effort to retaliate against that state's legislation stripping collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Early Show's Elaine Quijano covered the story in a full report (though not until the 8am hour). The Today show, a four hour program, mentioned it only once. Quijano explained that four of the six GOP senators held on and added, "For Wisconsin Democrats, Tuesday's vote was supposed to be a chance at revenge." However, these same networks, back in February, found time to feature signs comparing Scott Walker to Hitler and other dictators.
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."
Something astonishing happened in New Jersey last week. A majority Democratic legislature and a Republican governor agreed on a measure that will cut benefits for the state's 750,000 employees and retirees.
Like Wisconsin and other states that are being forced to deal with large budget deficits caused mostly by sweetheart deals struck in more prosperous times between politicians who need votes and labor unions who deliver them, New Jersey couldn't afford to go on like this.
Vicki McKenna, the conservative radio talker in a very liberal town (Madison, Wisconsin), alerted us to how the Wisconsin State Journal carries a very obvious torch for the leftist rabble that trashed the state Capitol earlier this year to protest conservative Gov. Scott Walker's collective-bargaining proposal. They're touting as "news" a protester's persistent Mylar balloon:
The tens of thousands of protesters have left. The metal detectors are gone.
But a small reminder of the massive demonstrations that rocked the state Capitol for weeks on end remains. A mysterious heart-shaped red balloon still floats inside the Capitol dome, where it has hovered high over the rotunda since mid-February.
Pro-government union protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere have provided some stunning insight into the double standards that pervade coverage of major protest movements. One such double standard lies in media treatment of threats against public officials. News of the release of more than 100 pages of documented threats against officials of both parties in Wisconsin has brought that double standard to light.
Very often such threats are most intensely focused on a single individual perceived as the leader of the ideological or political opposition. President Obama was the target of perhaps less overt, if certainly as menacing threats during the early stages of his administration when a handful of demonstrators brought firearms to a presidential town hall meeting. That of course dominated the airwaves for the following week, as many in the media bemoaned what they presented almost uniformly as hints at assassination.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, like President Obama, became the target of much of the rage from pro-union demonstrators. And like Obama, Walker received some very vocal - and in many cases more overt - threats against his life. Unlike threats against the president, however, those directed at Walker have received scant press attention outside of Wisconsin media.
Not even the light sections of the New York Times Sunday paper offer an escape from politics. In “Social Q’s,” his Sunday Styles column on modern etiquette, Philip Galanes got political when answering a question from Amanda from Grand Island, N.Y., criticizing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for teacher bashing during his recent battle to reduce the influence of public-sector unions.
Q: I asked one of my professors if he would write a letter of recommendation for an internship I was applying for. He did, and I thanked him. And I got it. Am I supposed to thank him again? I don’t know the protocol.
It may be laziness, or it may be failure to recognize reality, but the Associated Press's official tally of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race carried at JSOnline (but note the AP-based URL) still shows Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead over incumbent David Prosser, and hasn't been updated since Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
This failure to update has occurred despite the following statement made at the 3:00 mark of the video (HT Hot Air) showing Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus explaining why over 14,000 country votes were not originally reported to the Badger State's Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees state elections, at a late Thursday press conference:
These numbers will be reflected in my official results, canvass report, that was submitted to the Government Accountability Board.
Ms. Nickolaus mixed up tenses, but it seems pretty clear that by using the word "official" she is saying that the GAB now has the results, and that they should be reflected in any official reports.
Accordingly, yours truly has updated the AP's non-current scoreboard with the Waukesha County correction and a couple of smaller ones:
Once again, despite almost two months of national coverage Wisconsin's collective bargaining law and the protests and bad behavior which have accompanied it, the Associated Press is deciding that the nation's news consumers outside of the Badger State don't need to read, hear, or see news relating to unions and leftists acting illegally.
In a post on Saturday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the wire service treated the arrest of Katherine Windels for issuing death threats to all but one of the GOP's state senators as a local story. Later on Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard noted the virtual absence of media coverage of Windels' arrest on any broadcast network newscast or cable new show (except Fox's O'Reilly Factor).
The AP apparently believes that unions attempting to intimidate businesses into supporting their agenda -- or else -- isn't something that anyone outside of Wisconsin should care about. Even then, there is a palpable reluctance by the wire service to provide much in the way of accurate detail.
Liberals have a bad habit of mixing funerals (or death anniversaries) with political rallies. On Friday night's All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Smith offered a story that was 100 percent about union activists and liberal politicians, with no rebuttals.
NPR anchor Melissa Block began: "New York City today marked the 100th anniversary of one of its worst disasters: a fire at the Triangle shirtwaist factory that killed 146 people. NPR's Robert Smith reports that the city's unions used today to voice their anger over recent union setbacks."
Smith revealed Sen. Charles Schumer somehow connected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to those long-ago fiery deaths:
Within the same sentence, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell spurned the budget repair law crafted by Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin as "drastic" and celebrated a similar plan championed by Democratic Mayor Antonia Villaraigosa of Los Angeles as "a good deal."
On the March 25 edition of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," the daytime anchor praised the Democratic budget bill in Los Angeles as a "landmark deal" that "greatly increases workers's health care and pension contributions" after mischaracterizing the Republican plan as an attempt to "fight union workers by drastically cutting their pension and health plans."
Even as the Republican governor of Wisconsin was signing a bill Friday that all but ended collective bargaining for state employees, Democrats nationally had put out advertisements and letters to use his own success against him.
In a push to raise money for their candidates, Democrats hope Wisconsin will be for them what the health care overhaul was for Republicans in last year’s midterm elections: a galvanizing force for their base, and an example of overreaching that will win them crucial independent voters, not just in Wisconsin but also in Congressional races and the presidential election next year.
That’s not exactly how the Times covered the passage of Obama-care. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” strongly suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (Oops.)
Reporting on the passage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to curb public union benefits and bargaining power, on Thursday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Cynthia Bowers referred to the union protestors in the state capital and declared: "After three weeks of relative restraint, passions ran over today."
That "restraint" has included threats against Republican state lawmakers (with an angry mob surrounding one of them), protestors storming the state capitol building, and signs comparing Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler. As a Media Research Center Media Reality Check detailed, the networks have failed to report on the most extreme actions of the protestors, while they were eager to condemn the "incivility" of the Tea Party.
Friday’s New York Times off-lead story from Madison by Monica Davey and A.G. Sulzberger, in the aftermath of a defeat for public-sector unions in Wisconsin, spun the win by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as a long-term political victory for Democrats: “Wisconsin Curbs Public Unions, But Democrats Predict Backlash.” The online headline was even more blunt: “In Wisconsin Battle on Unions, State Democrats See a Big Gift.” Walker has evidently awoken “the sleeping giant” of labor unions (as if they had previously stayed out of politics).
By contrast, there was no such wishful thinking or hunt for the bright side for the losers in the aftermath of the fiercely contested passage of unpopular Obama-care last year. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (It didn’t quite work out that way.)
On Monday, in a story I will link after the jump, the Associated Press reported that on March 1 the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) dropped a lawsuit it initiated last year over the school district's refusal five years earlier to cover a prescription drug the union described as "an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members” (that link will also appear after the jump).
So the questions submitted for our readers to ponder are these:
1) What drug was involved?
2) How much has the district spent defending itself against the lawsuit?
Less than two weeks into his new gig anchoring the 3 p.m. Eastern hour at MSNBC, Martin Bashir has already called the Tea Party "disingenuous," hailed Obama's response to the crisis in Libya, and supported raising taxes on the rich.
This afternoon Bashir added another item to that liberal laundry list.
While President Barack Obama was delivering a speech on education reform in Boston, the former ABC "Nightline" anchor seized on the opportunity to advance the fallacious narrative that Republican governors across the country are trying to vilify public school teachers.
"With such a strong bloc of these young people voting Democratic [in presidential elections], Republican leaders in some key swing states are looking to even the playing field coming up in 2012," MSNBC's Thomas Roberts insisted as he introduced Heather Smith of Rock the Vote (RTV) in a segment devoted to that group's fears about "voter suppression" -- see RTV screen capture below the page break -- in states such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Missouri.
Those are four states where Republicans control both houses of the state legislature and are pushing reform laws aimed at voter ID requirements, tightening up residency requirements that largely impact college kids, and/or repealing last-minute voter registration at the polls.
With all of the union strife in Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey, and indications of more to come, it might be time to shed a bit of light on unions as an economic unit.
First, let's get one important matter out of the way. I value freedom of association, and non-association, even in ways that are not always popular and often deemed despicable. I support a person's right to be a member or not be a member of a labor union. From my view, the only controversy regarding unions is what should they be permitted and not permitted to do.
According to the Department of Labor, most union members today work for state, local and federal government. Close to 40 percent of public employees are unionized. As such, they represent a powerful political force in elections. If you're a candidate for governor, mayor or city councilman, you surely want the votes and campaign contributions from public employee unions. In my view, that's no problem. The problem arises after you win office and sit down to bargain over the pay and working conditions with unions who voted for you.
Leftist blogger Ian Murphy is "a liar who broke every rule of journalism," with his phone call to Gov. Scott Walker in which he pretended to be conservative donor David Koch, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told the audience of last night's "Hannity."
The Media Research Center founder was reacting to CNN having practically promoted Murphy's prank by awarding him the title "Most Intriguing Person of the Day" on February 24 and by plugging his website, BuffaloBeast.com, on air.
Had Murphy been a CNN employee, he'd have been fired for his unethical and highly partisan manuever, Bozell noted, citing none other than CNN's own media reporter/critic Howard Kurtz. What's more, Bozell added, the media have been silent about Murphy's rabid left-wing rantings in the past, such as in 2008 when he wrote a piece entitled, "F**k the Troops" in Iraq.
Video embed and link to MP3 audio follow the page break
Here's more evidence that Newsweek keeps sinking as a credible "news" outlet. In their "Conventional Wisdom Watch" box in the March 7 issue, their top entry is an Up arrow for "Dirty Tricks." Media ethics, schmethics. The honored trickster is so-called "journalist" Ian Murphy of the "Buffalo Beast" for calling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and pretending to be a capitalist, which he is certainly not. They explained: "Journo prank-calls Wisconsin governor. But is his refrigerator running?"
Typically, when Barack Obama declared he would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, Newsweek gave an Up arrow for "Love," with a rainbow flag flying in the arrow. "Obama won't defend gay-marriage law. White House quits its stone-walling." Newsweek defines a Justice Department defending federal law as it presently exists "stone-walling."
During a report on the latest developments in Wisconsin for Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Cynthia Bowers proclaimed that the 14 Democratic state senators who fled to Illinois to block Governor Walker's budget proposal from passing have "become heroes to protesters." She lamented: "Now comes word, albeit from a Republican, some may be ready to come home and concede."
Bowers used the "hero" label following a sound bite from one of the fugitive state senators, Jon Erpenbach: "For him [Walker] to use dedicated public servants who clear our roads, take care of our sick, teach our kids, as poker chips is ridiculous." At the end of her report, news reader Jeff Glor wondered: "Any timetable right now, as far as you know, of when those Democratic senators might return to Wisconsin?" Bowers replied: "No. But the Senate Majority Leader did indicate to us that some of them want to come home. It's just a matter of how to finesse it, so they don't appear to be the bad guy in this with their constituents, and the protesters."
Well, "saved" may be a bit dramatic, since GOP Sen. Glenn Grothman later said that he didn't feel he was in any real danger. But as you can see in the video below the jump Grothman was surrounded by a very loud and angry group of pro-union demonstrators. Democratic Assemblyman Brett Hulsey stepped in at around the 2:50 mark to try to calm the protesters down.
"This guy and I disagree on everything," Hulsey said, "but we're friends."
I love teachers. I really do. And I'm sure that most are overworked and underpaid. Certainly, no one is getting rich from teaching kids. I applaud the hardworking teachers across this land.
But, as has happened in Wisconsin, when teachers unions muscle legislators like the Mafia and Democrats abandon their voting posts because they don't like projected outcomes, haven't we abandoned the very foundational principles of our republic? Where were the "be civil" mainstream media police last Friday morning, when union demonstrators screamed at legislators on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly while they voted?
More proof of union dominance and monopoly came out Feb. 22, when Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board released a report that disclosed the top 10 lobbying groups in the state. Look who is at the top of the list:
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.”
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."
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."