Mar
01
2011

Why Does USA Today Hate Public Workers?

Paper's Dennis Cauchon continues misleading spin

On today's front page (3/1/11), USA Today alleges that public workers in Wisconsin earn more than private sector employees--a finding at odds with much of the research on public/private compensation. Under the headline "In Wisconsin, Private Sector Pays Less," reporter Dennis Cauchon argues that "Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public employees earn higher average pay and benefits than private workers in the same state." This "USA Today analysis" suffers from the same fundamental error as Cauchon's previous attempts (Extra!, 1/11) to paint public workers as overpaid: the failure to control for factors like the type of work performed, […]

Feb
25
2011

Laura Dresser on Wisconsin, Dean Baker on pension crisis

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's move to strip collective bargaining rights from state workers, because he says he need to close his state's looming $3.6 billion budget deficit, is being resisted in the streets of Madison, but not so much in the national media. Is the Wisconsin story part of a larger trend to make workers pay for an economic downturn caused by Wall St. and deregulators? We'll talk with Laura Dresser of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy about all that. Also on CounterSpin today, the fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, we're told, boils down to […]

Jan
01
2011

USA Today Targets Government Workers

Campaigning to cut their pay using bogus statistics

In the midst of a major recession, one group of people is making out like bandits, and USA Today’s on the case. Wall Street bankers? CEOs? Guess again: It’s government workers. “Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time—in pay and hiring—during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector,” wrote reporter Dennis Cauchon in a front-page article on December 11, 2009. His string of public worker pay “exposés” goes back at least as far as February 1, 2008, when he announced that “better pay and benefits for public employees come as private-sector workers face stagnant […]

Jun
12
2009

Phyllis Bennis on Obama's Cairo speech, Jonathan Tasini on the Boston Globe/GM

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama has either been currying favor with Muslims or extending an olive branch in the Middle East depending on which media you consume. We'll talk with Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies about Obama's major speech in Cairo, and the size of the gap between words and actions. Also on the show: The Boston Globe says it will impose a 23 percent wage cut on its employees on June 14. This is needed, says the Globe’s parent New York Times Company, because that paper is losing money. But is there more […]

Apr
21
2009

NBC's Secret Ballot Falsehood

Today show misrepresents pro-union bill, asks Wal-Mart for explanation

On April 15, NBC's Today show host Matt Lauer mischaracterized the Employee Free Choice Act, then turned to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke for further explanation of the pro-labor bill. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would make it easier for workers to form unions by increasing penalties for employers who violate workers' right to organize, and by giving workers the right to form a union if a majority signs cards declaring they want one--the so-called "card check" provision. NBC's Lauer declared that EFCA "would do away with secret ballots." This is inaccurate; under the proposed law, workers would still have […]

Feb
06
2009

Lou Dobbs Peddles Anti-Union Propaganda

CNN host misinforms on Employee Free Choice Act

CNN host Lou Dobbs falsely suggested that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would "end a secret ballot" on his February 4 show. At the conclusion of a report by CNN correspondent Bill Tucker about the Service Employees International Union's mobilization in support of the legislation, Dobbs said, "The American people voted for lots of things, but I don't know a lot of people voted to end a secret ballot." Dobbs' claim that EFCA would eliminate the "secret ballot" in union authorization elections, which has been a centerpiece in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-funded anti-union PR campaign (see Nation, 1/26/09), […]

Feb
01
2009

For Media, 'Card Check' Promise Is One to Break

Corporate outlets suddenly discover ‘workers rights’

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/wisaflcio

If corporate media really cared about workers rights, there probably would have been more than zero stories on those rights on the nightly broadcast news in the last year. And labor representatives would likely have provided more than the not quite 0.2 percent of nightly news sources found in a recent survey (Extra!, 5-6/02). Yet we are to believe that concern for workers rights drives some elite media to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). EFCA would allow workers to form a union when a majority sign authorization cards, rather than holding an election. Current law already allows this […]

Dec
12
2008

Bob McChesney on Tribune bankruptcy, Steve Early on card check

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Tribune Company that owns the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times along with much else declared bankruptcy this week, just a year after new owner Sam Zell took over, with his notable lack of background or interest in newspapers. It sounds like workers will wind up with the short end of the stick but what does it mean in the bigger picture? Are capitalists losing interest in media and if so, what do we think about that? We'll talk with media scholar and author Bob McChesney about that story. Also on the show: […]