The Union’s Political Game is Twisted from the Beginning

I don’t think WRNI reporter/commentator Scott MacKay would take offense at the suggestion — or bother to deny — that he’s got a union-friendly worldview, but I wonder whether it’s occurred to him that this imbalance in political influence might be structural and unfair in its core:

Union activists and their allies in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party won some big victories. The legislature that takes office in January is likely to be more liberal that the one that adjourned in June.
There is no secret as to why this happens; forget the peddlers of arcane conspiracies. The liberals and labor union members take elections seriously. While the business leaders squawk, labor leaders walk, as in door-to-door campaigning in districts across the state. …
But there is a solution to the State House labor-business imbalance. Business advocates should leave their boats on the moorings some weekends and try selling their case to door to door to average voters.

Put aside the class-warfare angle. What MacKay elides, here, is that labor leaders and their activist allies make their livings by the activities for which MacKay applauds them. Business leaders — whether of the boat-owning sort or the just-getting-by-working-eighty-hours-a-week (and daily-thinking-about-leaving-the-state) set — must engage in politics on their spare time and with money piled upon the already burdensome costs of operating in Rhode Island.
Not only that, but when it comes to public sector unions, their politicking directly helps them to increase their revenue. And it is ultimately taxpayers’ money that is being used to fund campaign activities on behalf of candidates who wish to transfer more of it to their union supporters.

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MadMom
MadMom
11 years ago

Let’s not forget the intimidation tactics that have been par for the course against businesses in RI who dare speak out against the left. There are way too many stories of biz owners who have spoken up and suddenly face a $30K fine for something that’s not “up to code” by the union backed city and town inspectors, councils, etc., whilst they let their cronies slip without a glance.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Scott McKay has quickly become the Fox News of the RI left.
That would probably be more ok if he was working for WPRO or WHJJ, but he’s working for the local NPR. One would just think that and entity that is at least partially funded by the government would be a little more unbiased.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

Patrick what are you talking about?
Why would you cite Fox News when Scott McKay’s liberal stench is found every single day on the pages of the ProJo, on channels 10, 12, 6, CBS, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, PBS….etc….etc..
McKay’s been an unprofessional and embarrassing shill for the left for a long time. Did you see where the ProJo (Kathy Gregg) took a shot at Helen Glover for her involvement with Gov candidate John Robitaille?? This is the same Kathy Gregg whose “professionalism” has her on her knees in front of George Nee and Bill Lynch on a daily basis. It’s so funny how phony and disingenous these dem party advocates posing as journalsits really are. But what’s really hilarious is they think they’re objective and honest.

michael
michael
11 years ago

“Labor leaders walk,” Sounds good, but I haven’t walked a step in support of any candidate. But then, I’m not a labor leader, or a liberal. And I’m a business owner who doesn’t “squawk,” either. I vote, and try to get the best people in office. And I’m usually disappointed.
Madmom, you sound paranoid. Any proof or near proof or anything to back up those allegations?

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

I think Kathy Gregg will hammer either side for stupidity. It’s just easier to find with the Republicans. They all do equally dumb stuff, but when you have such a small group to cover up their own gaffes or to discover the other sides, and when you have such a large group to point out the other side’s foibles, it’s easy pickin’s for Gregg.
As for McKay, I admit that I didn’t follow him much before his move to NPR, but my main point on him is that his employer is partially taxpayer funded. I pay a portion of his salary, yet he spews this nonsense. I have no choice but to pay him, unlike if he worked for the ProJo, Channel 10 or some other similar news source.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Apparently some would prefer all fringe-right, all the time. Who can even think of a single conservative radio personality in the state?

The men who own the industries, they own no bonds and stocks
They own no yachts and limousines, or gems the size of rocks.
They own no big estates with pools, or silken B.V.D.’s,
Because they pay the working man such fancy salaries. Ohhh….

Partially taxpayer funded and pro-working class. Gasp! Thank you, Scott.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

What happened last Tuesday was a reaction to the meme that’s been going around the talk radio universe and political circles for a long time. Unions simply got tired of being kicked around and blamed every time it rained. And too many political types thought simply bashing unions was enough to earn people’s votes (even if they were screwing their own constituents, like Gablinske did).
You kick the dog for the 18th time, and it may be finally take a bite out of your foot.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Russ, you’re missing the point. I specifically said that if he wanted to work for any other medium that isn’t taxpayer funded, I’d have no problem with that. But why should I be forced to pay a part of his salary? I’m not forced to pay any portion of any of those right-wing conservative talk show pundits or columnists.
If Matt Allen or John DePetro was using NPR to exclaim their conservative beliefs, we’d have people like you rallying to get them off the air, because of the taxpayer dime. Heck, people like you tried to get DePetro fired, and he’s not even paid by our taxes.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

I’m not forced to pay any portion of any of those right-wing conservative talk show pundits or columnists.

Um, of course you are. Radio and tv stations receive free use of the public airwaves.

America lets radio and TV broadcasters use public airwaves worth more than half a trillion dollars for free. In return, we require that broadcasters serve the public interest: devoting at least some airtime for worthy programs that inform voters, support local arts and culture and educate our children — in other words, that aspire to something beyond just minimizing costs and maximizing revenue.
Using the public airwaves is a privilege — a lucrative one — not a right, and I fear the F.C.C. has not done enough to stand up for the public interest.

McChesney explains the obvious

Let’s begin with the obvious question: where does our media system come from? In mythology, it is the result of competition between entrepreneurs duking it out in the free market. In reality, our media system is the result of a wide range of explicit government policies, regulations, and subsidies. Each of the 20 or so giant media firms that dominate the entirety of our media system is the recipient of massive government largesse-what could be regarded as corporate welfare. They receive (for free) one or more of: scarce monopoly licenses to radio and television channels, monopoly franchises to cable- and satellite-TV systems, or copyright protection for their content. When the government sets up a firm with one of these monopoly licenses, it is virtually impossible to fail. As media mogul Barry Diller put it, the only way a commercial broadcaster can lose money is if someone steals from it.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Russ, that’s insane even for you. Because we let WPRO use our airways for free, that’s the same as NPR actually taking real money from my pockets? That’s the same thing to you?
Let’s do it this way, if I pay $1.00 of tax, does any percentage of that dollar go to NPR? Yes.
Does any percentage of that dollar go directly to WPRO? No.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

If Matt Allen or John DePetro was using NPR to exclaim their conservative beliefs, we’d have people like you rallying to get them off the air, because of the taxpayer dime. Heck, people like you tried to get DePetro fired, and he’s not even paid by our taxes.

I’ve written quite a bit, but you haven’t seen me calling for any of the above to be removed from the air. Not to mention that NPR has mostly conservative commentators (a tilt observable even during Democratic administrations). Granted, by comparison it no doubt seems to be more liberal than commercial radio. But I mean if I have listen to Cokie Roberts telling me what to think one more time, I think I’ll puke.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Russ, that’s insane even for you. Because we let WPRO use our airways for free, that’s the same as NPR actually taking real money from my pockets? That’s the same thing to you?

No, the free use of the airwaves and monopoly is a much greater subsidy. Hardly the same at all in degree. If that’s not clear to you, let me borrow your car indefinitely since that won’t “cost” you a thing!

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Russ, that’s insane even for you. Because we let WPRO use our airways for free, that’s the same as NPR actually taking real money from my pockets? That’s the same thing to you?

No, the free use of the airwaves and monopoly is a much greater subsidy. Hardly the same at all in degree. If that’s not clear to you, let me borrow your car indefinitely since that won’t “cost” you a thing!

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