I do not operate under the assumption that POLITICO is a conservative publication. Nor am I under the impression that POLITICO is in the business of blatantly misinforming people. But, this afternoon, POLITICO writer Kasie Hunt has me scratching my open mind with an article titled, Mitt Romney Praises Labor at New Hampshire Town Hall. I clicked the link because I couldn’t believe it.
Then I discovered exactly how POLITICO defines “praises”:
With organized labor at the center of several nasty state budget fights, Mitt Romney spoke warmly of unions at a town hall on Tuesday.
“Unions have played a very important role historically in balancing in some cases the egregious actions of some employers and have been important to the development of our economy,” Romney told a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire on Tuesday morning.
Ok, that starts out fair enough, aside from the subtle diss (“in some cases”) which we can happily let slide. Hey, labor’s reasonable. Now go on, Mitt…
The former Massachusetts governor was responding to a question from a participant who criticized a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling against Boeing’s decision to locate a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of in union-friendly Washington State.
“There are some unions that continue to train their workers effectively, their members effectively,” Romney said. “But in some cases, if you will the union bosses — the union CEOs that are running the unions — perhaps put the interests of themselves ahead of the interests of their workers. And that may have been what happened in South Carolina.”
Union bosses!? POLITICO’s suggestion of “praise” for labor begins to fall apart at the seams. “Union bosses” is on page one of the anti-union playbook, in the second paragraph, third line down, right next to “union thugs.” And how about comparing union leaders to CEOs? Romney must be referring to all of the CEOs who are elected to office, the ones who campaign for months for their position, the ones who, after decades of working in mines and on 35 story scaffolds, earn the right to fly around on jets and meet only with a dozen or so board members to call all the shots. Those must be the “union CEOs” Mitt is referring to.
Hunt goes on to note that Romney “has eagerly joined” in criticism of the NLRB, “even tying it to potential job losses in Iowa.” Ahhh, the sweet sound of pro-unionism!
Alas, POLITICO’s tom-headlinery reaches far, far further into the lie jar. During the complete video of the town hall (below) Romney discusses two things that President Obama has done which he thinks have had a negative impact on the economy. One is the stimulus. The other? You guessed it. Card check and the pro-labor NLRB (skip to 6:40):
And then he pushed something also called “Card Check,” and he stacked the National Labor Relations Board with some labor union stooges. And, again, if you’re in a business that requires a lot of people, you have a lot of employees, that’s gonna make you pull back, because you don’t know what your cost of labor’s going to be.”
Labor union STOOGES!? Placing blame for business costs squarely on the shoulders of unionization?!?! With friends like Mitt, who really needs the Chamber of Commerce, anyway?
This act of journalistic obfuscation, wherein a quite large body of readers, many of whom only see or Tweet headlines all day long, are led to believe, by a reputable source, that the front-runner for the GOP nomination is a pro-labor candidate despite all evidence to the contrary, is not nothing. It is something. It is a sign that, despite a deck stacked high above the depleted political warchests and press outreach budgets of the labor movement, a seemingly non-partisan outfit with every opportunity to report fairly is standing at the ready to kick the union horse while it’s down. POLITICO, a bastion of Internet journalism’s emergence, has its finger on the big red button of acquiescence.
This piece does not appear in POLITICO’s opinion section. This is simply hard news…going soft.