Steve Rendall: NYT’s Labor Reporter Pits ‘Swaggering’ Public Workers Against ‘Taxpayers’

June 21, 2011   ·   0 Comments

Source: FAIR

By Steve Rendall:

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 public workers against “taxpayers”–who are, in fact, mostly other workers–may be a tried-and-true strategy of anti-labor forces, but it doesn’t accurately reflect the way the public see the issues. As the Times‘ own polling expert points out, Americans seem to be siding with public workers on the the issue of collective bargaining rights.

Considering the fact that this isn’t the only time the paper has pushed a false divide between government workers and nearly everybody else, perhaps Greenhouse would have more accurately portrayed the divisions had he written, “The pendulum has swung toward anti-labor activists and journalists, and away from public workers and the majority of the public who support them.”



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