May
17
2011

David Gregory's Factcheck Fail on Show's Sponsor

Labor journalist Mike Elk (In These Times, 5/16/11) made an excellent point after watching NBC host David Gregory interview Newt Gingrich on Sunday's Meet the Press (5/15/11). Elk wrote: Speaking yesterday on Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said that "the Obama system of the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] is basically breaking the law to try to punish Boeing and to threaten every right-to-work state." While Meet the Press host David Gregory vigorously challenged Newt Gingrich on details of his personal life, he failed to challenge Gingrich on his false […]

Apr
01
2011

NYT's Labor Reporter Pits 'Swaggering' Public Workers Against 'Taxpayers'

In a mostly informative "news analysis" ("Ohio's Anti-Union Law Is Tougher Than Wisconsin's," New York Times, 4/1/11) comparing new anti-union laws that restrict collective bargaining rights in Ohio and Wisconsin, New York Times labor and workplace correspondent Steven Greenhouse seems at one point to adopt the framing and language of anti-labor politicians and pundits: Moreover, at a time of huge budget deficits and of Republican dominance in many states, including states like Ohio and Wisconsin where unions once had swaggering power, the pendulum has swung toward the taxpayer instead of the government workers paid by the taxpayer. Pitting "swaggering" unionized […]

Mar
09
2011

Washington Post's Pension Propaganda

With a headline like "Public Workers Draining State, Local Pension Funds," I guess you know what to expect from Karen Tumulty's article in the Washington Post today (3/8/11). It appears the story's headline was changed somewhere along the way, but unfortunately the headline wasn't the only problem. Her lead paragraph introduces an obviously unrepresentative case–a guy who somehow had four¬† government jobs in one California town, and thus is enjoying a $500,000 pension. Tumulty writes: Deals like the one he got rankle Californians at a time when the state's public employee pension plans are "dangerously underfunded, the result of overly […]

Mar
04
2011

Rose Hearts Huckabee: 'Public' TV on Wisconsin Protests

The Charlie Rose show–which airs mostly on public television stations–has mostly skipped the protests in Wisconsin, one of the biggest labor stories of the past decade. This is not a total surprise–Rose seems to identify with The Bosses more than with the workers–so it was interesting to see how he finally approached the subject on his March 2 show. The first guest was Time's Joe Klein.He seems toidentify with public sector workers, he knows they're not getting rich, but he doesn't like their unions: "Public employees' unions are a pretty questionable proposition," as he put it. The solution in Wisconsinis […]

Mar
02
2011

Bill O'Reilly's Public Opinion Solution: Don't Poll Union Members

You had to assume that there would be folks in the media who wouldn't like the recent CBS/New York Times poll that found strong public support for public workers. Sixty percent of those polled oppose stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights; 56 percent opposed cutting pay or benefits of those workers in the name of deficit reduction. Fox's Bill O'Reilly has a solution to this problem: Union households shouldn't be polled. As he explained last night (3/1/11) And the New York Times headline today reads "Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector." But the poll is misleading because […]

Feb
23
2011

Factchecking ABC's Factcheck on Public Workers

On Monday (2/21/11), ABC World News wanted to set the record straight on Wisconsin's budget problems. As host George Stephanopoulos put it, the debate is over whether pensions and other benefits for public workers are to blame for the crippling budget shortfalls in Wisconsin and other states. Tonight Barbara Pinto has a reality check. What a relief–this is something that surely screams out for clarification. The report starts with a quote from Republican Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. ABC's Pinto weighed in on his side: Part of that problem, pension plans for America's public workers that are under funded by at […]

Dec
11
2008

Debunking the Overpaid Autoworker Salaries

Today New York Times business columnist David Leonhardt (12/10/08) weighs in on the $73-an-hour autoworker. His verdict is somewhat mixed–¬Ěthe Big Three do have to pay the so-called legacy costs that are part of this calculation, but it's misleading to conflate that with current earnings of autoworkers: So what is the reality behind the number? Detroit's defenders are right that the number is basically wrong. Big Three workers aren't making anything close to $73 an hour (which would translate to about $150,000 a year). And he adds a little media criticism: The Big Three built up a huge pool of […]