Saturday, 17 August 2013

CALLING OUT CNN AND NBC

Ken Berwitz

Earlier this month, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to boycott NBC and CNN if they went ahead with plans to do major projects on Hillary Clinton next year, - at a time when candidates are putting together their organizations, accumulating donors and securing endorsements for the 2016 election. 

Mr. Priebus reasoned that, based on past history from, oh, maybe the past half century or so, coupled with the networks' almost unfailingly positive portrayal of Ms. Clinton for decades, these projects - CNN's "documentary" and NBC's mini-series starring Diane Lane as Hillary Clinton (how could you possibly miss the resemblance?)...

Hillary Clinton

... would be little other than celebrations of her wonderfulness, designed to hand Ms. Clinton the oval office on a silver platter.

Well, Priebus presented his views to the committee he chairs.  And here is what happened, as excerpted from Jonathan Easley's article at thehill.com:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously Friday to pull the group's partnership with NBC and CNN for the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates unless the networks kill their planned films on Hillary Clinton.

"We don't have time for the media's games," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said before the vote at the RNC summer meeting in Boston. "We're done putting up with this nonsense. There are plenty of other news outlets."

Earlier this month, Priebus sent letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt warning he'd pull GOP debates from the networks over the films, which he called "a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election."

What were the reactions of CNN and NBC? 

CNN - which, for decades, has been derided as the "Clinton News Network" - is terribly hurt, and issued a statement saying, in part, that "The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion, with most of the reporting and interviewing yet to be done.  Therefore speculation about the final program is just that." 

This has all the credibility of Rush Limbaugh issuing a statement saying just because he has spent the last 5 years relentlessly criticizing Barack Obama, people should not assume his radio shows next week will be doing so; after all, they haven't taken place yet, have they?

And NBC - those nice folks with their history of doctoring tapes to make Democrats and, more generally, the left look good - and who own MSNBC, with its nonstop hard-left programming - assure us that this is just an entertainment show and its production is completely apart from NBC's news division, which would never, ever have any influence on its content.  Yeah right....and the cow jumped over the moon.

Somehow, Mr. Priebus was unconvinced. 

So now that he and the RNC have taken their stand, what will happen?  Will the networks accuse Republicans of being bad guys?  Hooboy, lots of leverage there....I mean that's new uncharted territory, isn't it?  When have they ever done that before?

Suppose Republicans follow through and really make good on the threat, by boycotting debates on CNN or NBC.  Oh, gee, we will lose moderators like Candy Crowley - aka Barack Obama's tag-team partner - and be stuck with "neutral" alternatives such as Gwen Ifill, Bob Schieffer, George Stephanopoulos, etc.  You know, every Republican's wet dream.

Look, sarcasm aside, this is not going to make a big difference.  The major networks are so deeply in the tank for Democrats that their bias is going to be there anyway.  But it is nice to see Republicans doing something about it, however futile the gesture happens to be.

Hey, who knows...maybe if the Reince Priebus's of the world keep this up, someday in the however-distant future, mainstream media might give Republicans an even shake. 

Now that would be worth a mini-series and documentary.

bob w The part of Hilary should be played by Ed the horse (08/17/13)

(Anon) I suggest Ken get quote of the day for this --- "Hey, who knows...maybe if the Reince Priebus's of the world keep this up, someday in the however-distant future, mainstream media might give Republicans an even shake. ". -------- who agrees? (08/17/13)

Ken Berwitz Flattered though I am, I would never give myself quote of the day honors. Besides, if they ever do a female remake of "Twins", which originally starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, these two are naturals for the lead roles. (08/17/13)

Art VanDelay Funny comment about Diane Lane : ) (08/17/13)


MICHIGAN'S RIGHT TO WORK LAWS UPHELD

Ken Berwitz

The unions in Michigan gave it their best shot.  They tried a legal challenge to the "right to work" laws, enacted last December, which made joining a union voluntary rather than mandatory - thus ending "union shop" situations in which, to get a job, an employee had to join the union or pay its dues whether he/she wanted to or not.  From Brendan O'Brien's article at Reuters:

The state legislature passed the "right to work" law in December amid union protests in Lansing, dealing a stunning blow to organized labor in the state that is home to U.S. automakers and the symbol of industrial labor in the United States.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the legislature had the authority to create the law that makes union fees voluntary because it has the constitutional right to "speak for the people on matters of significant public concern."

Unions who brought the challenge argued the law intrudes on the power of the state's Civil Service Commission because the agency has the authority to "regulate all conditions of employment."

The reaction of Cindy Estrada, Vice President of the United Auto Workers?  "We are deeply disappointed by the court's ruling, which, if it stands, will undermine Michigan's constitutional protections for state workers". 

Funny, I would have thought this ruling reinstated state workers' constitutional protections, by giving them free choice.  Shows you what I know.

The unions can appeal this decision...and, I would think, are going to.  They have to, given that - as we have seen in other states already - a ruling which allows workers to pay or not pay union dues is guaranteed to mean tons of current workers leave the union and tons of new ones never join.  This, in a very real sense, is an issue of their survival.

We can argue over the value of unions today - whether they are necessary, even imperative, or anachronisms made obsolete by laws that have come into being over the years.  In my opinions, both sides can make a pretty good case. 

We can also argue over the premise that, if unions had remained what they started as - a bargaining agent for the working man and woman to give them leverage against corporations that were exploiting them - instead of enormous corporations in their own right, with enormous campaign chests filled with untold millions of dollars from union dues, which are given almost exclusively to Democrats (though about 40% of unon members vote Republican) - people might see them in a far more positive light than they currently do. 

But either way, this is a huge ruling.  One that is almost certain to be looked on in other states considering "right to work" legislation - if for no other reason, that politicians who see a ton of union members abandoning ship, will perceive that the union members in their own states, while possibly silent for fear of reprisal, are on the "right to work side" as well. 

More on this as events unfold.


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD

Ken Berwitz

You'll hear from us today, and I know you got our card.  But I thought I'd put it up on the blog this year as well.

Happy 72nd anniversary, mom and dad.  Not many people get to say that, but we're among the lucky ones.

And, yes, I'll blog your anniversary congratulation again next year and the year after and the ..... etc.  All you guys have to do is keep giving me the chance.


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