- Politics and Social Issues
Vehemently Biased Underreporting Of Wisconsin Debacle by New York Times Proves Colossal Failure For Mainstream Media
Cops for Labor!
Upon reading the title of the New York Times’ piece: For Wisconsin Lawmakers, A Heroes Homecoming I braced myself for what was sure to be an objective look at the actual situation here in Wisconsin. I was sorely disappointed to read yet another hamstrung perspective of the political goings-on here in my home state. It seems the tentacles of big money know no bounds.
At first glance and by the title alone one would think the author of this article A.G. Sulzberger was prepared to reveal the truth about the hardworking labor movement and how they have stood up to wave upon wave of falsehoods and mainstream myopia, not quite. The article at first paints a quaint picture of protesters receiving their state senators in a warm way, which is highly unusual for the underappreciated job of a state senator, as opposed to say, a national senator.
The article begins:
They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes. But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest.
At this point I remember thinking, alright they are on the right track, let’s here it for New York City! Even though Sulzberger salaciously used the word “fled” instead of say, “escaped” or “recouped” I thought, well perhaps this isn’t a right leaning inclination, it’s probably just subconscious word choice.
There were tens of thousands of protesters there, I can vouch for that. On March 12, 2011 I was there with my eight month old son and wife in tow. The estimated numbers of 100,000 seemed correct to me (I’ve heard a quarter million and fifty thousand also both of which seemed over or under) either way there were people pouring in and out of the Capitol rotunda and out to the streets that sprocket from it’s center, just like the week prior and also the week before that.
Tragically, the article quickly turned to the plutocratic propaganda most Fox News watchers have assimilated to, but this wasn’t the violence-inciting Bill O’Reilly lying here! This was The New York Times:
The reason for the reception was that the 14 Democratic state senators had returned weeks after fleeing to another state in a dramatic — if ultimately failed — effort to prevent a vote on a bill that would significantly weaken public-sector unions.
Failed? Wisconsin Republicans voted on the bill without a quorum which is illegal in our state if the bill includes any details about budgets or financing which this bill did. To say nothing of passing legislation in a closed meeting as Minority Leader Peter Barca bravely pointed out! The bill was also rammed through without an open-to-the-public meeting which is also against the law here in Wisconsin. It included the removal of state employee’s collective bargaining rights for benefits. Not one word about this illicit legislation was mentioned in the piece. The reader is just expected to believe that despite the hundreds of thousands of protestors that have marched in Madison, somehow Wisconsin state Republicans still managed to pass their bill legally, which they did not.
The New York Times further obfuscates the truth:
Republican lawmakers, who called the Democrats cowards and accused them of abandoning their posts, made numerous efforts to get them back, including holding their paychecks, stripping their parking spots, issuing fines, threatening arrest and pursuing other legislation before ultimately maneuvering to vote without them.
The bill, which limits collective bargaining rights and requires annual votes for unions to stay in existence, among other provisions, was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, after passing in both Republican-controlled chambers earlier in the week.
Again the article fails to address the truth about this nefariously passed legislation. Yes Republicans accused Democrats of abandoning their posts, but fails to mention that breaking a quorum is not against the law, but an emergency democratic tool used to vet legislative power grabs by minority factions such as the one Wisconsin Republicans are greedily playing out today. What is against the law in Wisconsin is the threat of withholding pay and threatening arrest for political reasons or using police officers as an intimidation force for negotiating with employees.
As it states in the Wisconsin constitution:
Statute 323.12 (2)(c)
the state traffic patrol officers or conservation wardens subject to the call shall have the powers of a law enforcement officer for the duration determined by the Governor, except that the officers and the wardens may not be used in, or take part in any dispute or controversy between an employer or employee concerning wages, hours, labor or working conditions.
I suspect a journalist for the New York Times makes a pretty good penny, yet they failed to include that Governor Scott Walker and Republican Senators like Scott Fitzgerald passed illegal legislation? This is a huge story! But journalist Sulzberger glazes over facts as if he too is on the Koch brothers’ payroll.
Sulzberger quotes Fitzgerald:
Scott Fitzgerald, the Senate majority leader, released a statement saying that the Democrats should be embarrassed about their conduct. “Today, the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin are going to pat themselves on the back and smile for the cameras,” he said. “They’re going to pretend they’re heroes for taking a three-week vacation.
“It is an absolute insult to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who are struggling to find a job, much less one they can run away from and go down to Illinois — with pay.”
The insult here is that laws have been broken out in the open by Fitzgerald himself! The insult is that Fitzgerald and Walker tried passing a 144 page budget plan in a few days, a task that usually is debated openly in our state for months! Wouldn’t justice best be served if, the more controversial a piece of legislation, the more openly and the longer it should be debated? The ultimate outrage though, is that police officers were not only used to intimidate political opponents by issuing warrants and knocking on the doors of the opposing Democrats' families, officers were also commanded illegally and in violation of the United States Constitution to physically remove protestors from the capitol itself. Governor Walker passed more nefarious legislation stating that permits were required to assemble on the capitol grounds.
What’s more, the Superintendant of the Wisconsin State Patrol Stephen Fitzgerald, is the father of Senator Scott Fitzgerald! So the supervision of the use of officers here in our state has no legitimate checks and balance system in place, one Republican hand washes the other, the rest of us have to make do with whatever is dictated from up on high and pray we don’t get arrested as the rule of law is not recognized by either Scott Walker or Scott Fitzgerald.
Scott Walker's illegal actions will not stand!
There was one glimmer of objective reporting at the end when Sulzberger reported a quote from a Wisconsin teacher:
“We wanted to come together one more time to let people know this is not over,” said Ann Soderman, a high school science teacher who carried a sign listing the Democratic senators. She said she had attended several rallies but was now focused on recall efforts against eligible Republican senators, including her own. “All this energy is going to go into a different avenue,” she said.
The New York Times disappointed me in their article which painted the efforts of protestors here as feeble or tedious at best while showing Republicans in a glorified light while they openly break laws against their own people. Perhaps the most underreported story in the mainstream is that Governor Scott Walker, in an interview back before he was elected in 1992, once told a reporter that former Ku Klux Klan member and aspiring politician David Duke’s views were “not that extreme”. The interview, which can be viewed in it’s entirety on YouTube, shows Walker defending national Republicans views on why Duke shouldn’t be placed on the ballot that year, ostensibly because it would take votes away from conservative darling George Bush. The candor to which Walker speaks with Duke and that he defends Duke’s beliefs is appalling. Disturbingly Walker backs anti-Semite Pat Buchanan in the same interview while gingerly dialoguing with the besmirched former Klansman David Duke.
It is underreported that Governor Scott Walker threatened to use Wisconsin’s National Guard against peaceful protestors; these are soldiers with automatic weapons. It is underreported that there was no budget “crisis” in Wisconsin until Republicans were elected and started trumpeting that there was one, all the while handing millions of dollars over to private interests that helped get them elected. It is underreported that Scott Walker and Fitzgerald are doing everything they can to point the finger of blame on the working people of Wisconsin for our countries’ recession, instead of the bankers and Wall Street investors who received massive bailouts and bonuses, huge rewards for repeated failures. Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald are clearly demagogues willing to take away health care from the elderly, the infirm and the poor, all the while lining their friends pockets with the slashed salaries of teachers, nurses and other laborers.
Why aren’t reporters letting people know that Walker and Fitzgerald are taking Americans right to assemble away? Why aren’t reporters letting people know that Walker and Fitzgerald are signing legislation deep into the night behind locked doors and away from their constituency? Why is the mainstream media failing to quote the actual statute that states that Walker and Fitzgerald broke the law when they used police officers against their own people and political opponents? What has happened to truth in media in the United States? Clearly these politicians are sycophants bought and sold by billionaires such as the Koch brothers and nary a peep about their abuse is printed in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times or televised media. This is an abomination and a tragedy for my democratic republic. Yet despite their repeated attacks, the fight is not over here in Wisconsin.
As German Pastor Martin Niemoller once opined:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Most politicians, after getting caught breaking the law in the open, usually quit, or step down, or step out of the lime light at least. Not these people, not Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald, they have made breaking the law status quo for their new Wisconsin. If you are a thinking person watching Wisconsin from the outside world looking in, please explore other media besides what is being said through the major outlets. The billionaires and millionaires that stand to gain from stripping our rights and freedoms from the people here in my state have paid off most of these pundits. Don’t believe everything you hear and read at first glance, and please stay diligent to the facts of the laws broken by people like Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald. There needs to be consequences for their actions, a recall effort is underway and lawsuits will be filed. But until we see more light in our system, please don’t forget about us here in Wisconsin.
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