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Monday, March 02, 2015

Why the NYT got Scott Walker wrong in 2011

Four years later, the headline is a laugh riot: "In Wisconsin Battle on Unions, State Democrats See a Gift."

So why did the New York Times get the narrative on Republican Governor Scott Walker so wrong?


In one word: Gullible.

In three: Out of touch.

For all their education, the co-authors Monica Davey and Arthur Gregg Sulzberger III (both graduated from Brown) know little about workers, or unions. The overwhelming majority of Americans -- 89% -- do not belong to a union. That's because they repeatedly vote against union representation, because they realize union leaders are out for themselves. Mafia and communist connections to certain unions are well established.

Neither writer is old enough to recall Reagan's de-certification of PATCO, the air traffic controllers union, after it went on strike in 1981 (the year Sulzberger was born). Americans applauded Reagan. That it happened during a baseball strike helped.

Most people are sick of unions, but not liberals, which is why Davey and Sulzberger told only the union and Democratic Party line in this story without bothering to balance it with the Republican side.

Neither reporter understood the issue, calling it "bargaining rights for most state workers in Wisconsin," when it was the automatic payroll deductions of dues and the call for unions to re-certify. The idea of Republicans was not to kill the unions, but rather to force unions to justify their existence.

From the New York Times:
MADISON, Wis. — After nearly a month of angry demonstrations and procedural maneuvering in the State Capitol here, Gov. Scott Walker won his battle on Thursday to cut bargaining rights for most government workers in Wisconsin.
Peter Barca, the Democratic leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly, said: “Our democracy is out of control in Wisconsin. And you all know it — you can feel it.”
But his victory, after the State Assembly passed the bill, also carries risks for the state’s Republicans who swept into power last November.
Democratic-leaning voters appeared energized by the battle over collective bargaining on a national stage. The fight has already spurred a list of potential recall elections for state lawmakers this spring. Protesters are planning more large demonstrations this weekend.
“From a policy perspective, this is terrible,” said Mike Tate, the leader of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
“But from a political perspective, he could not have handed us a bigger gift,” Mr. Tate said of the governor.
In the last 24 hours, he added, the state party had received $360,000 in contributions and volunteers have streamed into offices where signatures were being collected for recall bids.
The Republican-dominated Assembly voted mainly along party lines, 53 to 42 in favor of the bill, during a tense and bitter proceeding punctuated by shouts of “No!” from angry lawmakers, cries of “Shame, shame!” from protesters in the gallery, and chants from thousands outside the locked-down chamber.
The vote had been delayed after law enforcement completely closed the Capitol for a time, when protesters filled a section near the Assembly hall and refused to leave. Some demonstrators were carried out.
The boorish, childish and outlandish behavior of the union protesters should have been the first clue that this would not play well outside of Madison. But apparently no one at Brown ever heard of Calvin Coolidge or what propelled him to the vice presidency (hint: standing up to the union in the Boston Police Strike in 1919).

There are two sides to every story. Had Davey and Sulzberger bothered to ferret out the Republican side, or talk to people outside the Capitol, they would have discovered that Scott Walker was not giving Democrats a gift.

He was handing them their hats.

1 comment:

  1. Why? They WANTED to, To destroy his governorship. To support the government unions, the Left generally and the Dems specifically.

    The Gift was the atrocious and unhinged behavior of the Left, the Dems, the unions, and the media. All that was missing was Mr. Scott's impression of Clint Eastwood saying "Make My Day."

    ReplyDelete