Media fog in the recall elections in Wisconsin
Armstrong Williams | 6/27/2012, 4:05 p.m.
Last week, Fox News first called the recall election in favor of Scott Walker while NBC continued to ticker-tape blast that it was too close to call. I checked the Internet for the results of the election on the New York Times and other websites and I noticed there was a significant lag between them calling the election for Walker and Fox News.
It is quite intriguing in retrospect how the media shifted the significance of the recall from the original issue of reducing public employees' bargaining rights to the issue of jobs. While jobs are the critical issue to the American economy today, out-of-control government compensation of its employees must be reined in. It is certain that the mainstream media will downplay the significance of Walker's victory on the public service unions, the power of the Democratic Party and the influence on the pending November presidential election.
The original issue of public unions' collective bargaining rights appears to have been downgraded when it became apparent that Walker would win by a landslide. Instead, the mainstream media decided to spin coverage of Walker's victory as a result of conservative special interest money that clouded the progressive message. According to Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog group, the conservatives are the ones who are the special interests because Walker raised more money than his opponent.
However, what the mainstream media fails to realize is that the public unions are the real special interests here, not the American people. Unions may complain that conservatives are the special interests, but unions have spent tons of money in order to intimidate public officials to alert them to their cause.
The reason the progressive message is "clouded" is because the people clearly do not want the government siding with the unions.
There has been virtually no coverage of the nationwide rejection of public unions across the country in elections held in key U.S. territories. Lost in the fray of the Wisconsin recall were the results of several California ballot initiatives where voters approved pension cuts to city workers. It is not just Wisconsin voters who believe that public employees are overcompensated--voters across America feel the same way, even in California.
It is obvious that there are inherent conflicts of interest between politicians who are supposed to manage public employees and public service unions who negotiate on behalf of these employees. Without resolving this conflict of interest, it would be virtually impossible for elected politicians to control spiraling wages and benefits to public employees. These out-of-control employee costs, along with entitlement costs, are creating huge deficits in government budgets. Walker's success in the recall put up a firewall against out-of-control employee compensation. Now we need the politicians to deal as courageously with entitlement reform.
What the people of Wisconsin have told us is that we should not exploit the union's message. It is clear that the Wisconsin people are not anti-union, but their issue is public service and politicians working sweetheart deals with each other. If the public were to take a poll on whether unions should have collective bargaining rights, most people would agree they should be entitled. People see this as a workers rights' issue because the majority of us are workers. When politicians and public employees' unions start trading favors that hurt all taxpayers, it's a different story. The public finds it repulsive and feels that people should stand up against this issue everywhere. People should not be required to pay dues or join a union.