There is a great deal the corporate “news” media has not told the American public about what is happening in Wisconsin – and, undoubtedly, all the other states where the middle class is under direct big-money assault.
With the one exception of Ed Schultz on MSNBC, in a broadcast Monday evening (March 14), there has been little or no mention of Obama’s absence, and no reporting on the feelings, ranging from apparent indifference to antipathy, about Obama and the national Democrats among the union members, farmers and others who have been fighting so hard for their rights in Wisconsin.
Most of the corporate media continue to present the story of Wisconsin based on the Republican claim that the gutting of union rights was done to “cut costs” and save the state from a “budget crisis.”
In fact, and this should be regularly reported, the taking of collective bargain rights from public employee unions doesn’t save the state any countable money. And, anyway, the plain fact is that Wisconsin is not in a “budget crisis.”
Truthfully, the state is in pretty good financial shape. The “terrible” deficit Gov. Scott Walker and the legislative Republicans keep talking about exists only because they gave very rich Wisconsinites and corporations a big tax cut just days before mounting their attack on unions. The amount of state revenue lost because of those uncalled-for tax breaks almost exactly equals the amount of that “terrible” deficit.
In other words, the Republicans created the deficit just days before they started screaming about how awful it is. CBS and CNN and my local birdcage liner and even the New York Times don’t seem to want to tell you that.
The corporate press just won’t report that, though it should be in every story in which Republicans are quoted bemoaning the supposed deficit.
And there has been almost no reporting in other media about a statement made by Republican State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Fox “New” March 9.
Fitzgerald, who has made a number of true but arrogant statements, admitted on Fox that what he and his fellow Republicans did by taking away union bargaining rights had little to do with economics and everything to do with destroying the unions’ political power.
“We fixed it so the money won’t be there” for unions to help fund the opponents of Republicans in future elections, and especially in the 2012 presidential election, Fitzgerald boasted.
It wasn’t until after my wife and I left the big rally late Saturday afternoon that some of the thoughts presented here actually hit me. Especially, I had not given much thought to where Obama stood – or didn’t stand – in the picture, or at least how he might stand with the people of Wisconsin who are fighting for their economic survival.
Then, suddenly, it seemed shocking that a sitting Democratic president had so entirely distanced himself from literal struggle for survival affecting millions of his key voters. It was, and is, genuinely bizarre that neither the president nor Democratic Congressional leadership is even remotely involved.
The rally in Madison was a revelation in another way: I’d expected enthusiasm, and anger, from the crowd, but I have experienced nothing to compare with the emotions and determination in that mass of people since a giant antiwar rally in the early 1970s.
Anger against the right wing extremists in Madison was universal and powerful, and yet there was – Glenn Beck and other dribbling idiots to the contrary – not the slightest sense that anyone was going to get out of control. There was no danger, no chance that anyone was going to smash windows or throw things. The anger was entirely channeled toward useful action, especially the recall efforts and elections between now and November 2012.
Some of the guys from the trades, men wearing jackets or badges proclaiming their membership in an operating engineers’ union or the Teamsters, seemed a bit nonplussed at finding themselves on the same side, cheering and occasionally booing the same things, as members of nurses’ and teachers’ unions and people looking like leftover 1975 hippies, but then I saw three or four literally shrug and smile and get into it. The trades guys were especially courteous to the teachers.