Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

News, comedy people surprised by union busting in WI, even if they belong to unions

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When The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and the other late-night shows are covering the story in Wisconsin, they have an obvious conflict of interest. After all, their writers belong to the Writers Guild of America (WGA). And we became so aware of this when Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jay Leno were forced back to work in the middle of the strike. (David Letterman and Craig Ferguson worked out their own individual deals with the WGA, and went back with writers.)

The primary concerns of the striking writers was to be compensated for material on digital technology, and how the union covered reality show writers.

But these union employees had the right to negotiate those contracts. (Full disclosure: I know Michael Winship, then presidents of the WGA East.)

Those who are on and off the air at CNN, MSNBC, even Fox “News” Channel also belong to unions, and they all have benefits negotiated by their union representatives.

But the majority of the news people seem confused by what is going on in Wisconsin as well as Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Maybe they can ask their union rep to explain to them what is going on.

These people also know the difference between negotiating specific compensation issues, as union workers in WI have been very clear that they are willing to negotiate on pay and health benefits, and losing the right to negotiate.

Anderson Cooper was on Jon Stewart on Tuesday, and talked about how he was attacked for telling the truth about outgoing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker hasn’t been telling the truth about what is going on in Wisconsin, and suddenly most of the MSM is mute.

Scott Walker says WI has a $2.2 billion budget deficit.

This is actually next year’s budget deficit, not this year’s. This year’s budget deficit = $137 million. This year’s tax breaks for businesses is more than the budget deficit.

Scott Walker feels that this is a broader issue and all public employees should consent to this.

However, Walker specifically is targeting groups that did not support him in the 2010 elections. Groups that did support Walker get to keep their bargaining rights.

Scott Walker is a liar.

And if you still aren’t convinced that Walker is a liar, consider that he has done this before, also lying about the circumstances as to why it was “necessary.”

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems. Even in the settlement of the 2007-2008 WGA strike, the writers didn’t get everything they wanted. The producers gave up some. Negotiation. Compromise. People went back to work.

Both sides of the political process talk about the middle class. Let’s save the middle class. The middle class has been shrinking in the last 30 years. Though the GOP is largely responsible for the ideas and implementation, the Democratic Party has done its small share.

This is why public unionized employees shine so brightly. Okay, their salaries aren’t that much better than comparable private-sector salaries. But they usually have better benefits and reassurance that they can’t get let go on a whim, something that over 80% of private-sector employees do not have.

The enemy is not the public unionized employees. The enemy is those that ship jobs overseas, that try and underpay workers, those that reward companies for selling those jobs overseas.

Can unions be overwrought? Sure. Are they? A little. Is this the worst reason why our economy is suffering? Not even close.

We’re not saying that the news and comedy shows will turn into labor TV – would look like “Morning in America” in a parallel universe. But a lot of the outlets – news and comedy – seem confused about the union busting elements from the GOP governors. And because they belong to an union, they shouldn’t be this confused.

Also, those in these news and comedy shows make way more money than the police officers, teachers, and firemen potentially affected by these actions.

Saying Walker is doing this for the budget is a news element. Letting Walker get away with the lie – well, that is uninformed, lazy journalism. And the sources to straighten you out are closer than you think.

Past coverage:

The ban on content from the writers strike has been lifted

Taking a stand and not posting anything from a TV show affected by the writers strike

Democracy needs the voices of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (and their talented writers)


One Response

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  1. Found your blog post through Bing. You know I will be subscribing to your rss feed.


    February 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

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