Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unions: Sunday Shows Are Shutting Us Out


The Huffington Post February 24, 2011   


Amanda Terkel


Unions: Sunday Shows Are Shutting Us Out


WASHINGTON -- Though thousands of Americans have turned out this week to show solidarity with Wisconsin's public employees and oppose a threat to their collective bargaining rights, union officials say they have not been able to place a labor voice on this Sunday's editions of the weekly public-affairs TV shows. The shows' producers, they complain, are shutting out the workers' perspective.


A union official told The Huffington Post that when none of the Sunday shows' producers reached out to them to book a labor representative this week, several unions started to pitch the shows with affected workers and local and national leaders who they felt could discuss the protests. The official said the response from the shows was essentially "thanks, but no thanks."


"If you're a Sunday show and there are labor fights going on for two weeks, if you can just book ... Chris Christie, why would you actually go out and get somebody who is actually involved in this? That would be work!" snarked the official, adding, "Everybody's been pushing, and everybody's been shut down."


The Huffington Post reached out to producers at Fox News, NBC, ABC, CNN and CBS. NBC News spokesperson Erika Masonhall said the lineup for this weekend's "Meet the Press" will not be final until Friday and "will highlight a number of topics and include a variety of guests and opinions." An official at another network said their show's guest roster had likewise not been set and a labor representative could still be included.


CBS's "Face the Nation" will feature Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey who has been waging a fierce battle with the state's teachers union. (He has even accused the union of "using children like drug mules" in school elections.)


Christie is also a frequent media guest, and that presence appears to have helped make him a particular target of labor. On Twitter, the AFL-CIO's political communications director, Eddie Vale, joked, "But, don't worry, while no labor members or leaders on Sun shows, you get Chris Christie! He's never on TV so should be new & interesting."


While no Sunday show featured any workers or labor officials last week, ABC's Bob Woodruff did do an on-the-ground report from Madison, Wis., where he interviewed some workers who were protesting. That report has been criticized, however, for overplaying the role of the small group of Tea Party protesters who were also there. Mediaite's Tommy Christopher called it "a stunning example of the mainstream media's true bias, toward laziness and conflict."

Copyright © 2011, Inc.

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