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General News    H3'ed 9/7/10

Conservatives celebrate Labor Day by attacking organized labor

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Message Media Matters

Following Fox News' lead, conservative media outlets celebrated Labor Day by attacking labor unions, often smearing them as "socialist" and violent.

Conservatives attack unions as "socialist" "thugs" on Labor Day

Beck guest host Thompson: "Happy socialism day!" During the September 6 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, substitute host Doc Thompson opened the show by saying "Happy socialism day!" He continued:

Today is America's yearly tribute to that great political system known as socialism. Oh there are going to be those who are going to pretend today is to honor workers, honor the people who labor, we're just giving a little tribute to them. But it's really a day that honors labor unions. posts "Labor Day Special" videos, which depict union members as "thugs." On Labor Day, Andrew Breitbart's website posted several anti-union videos with the title "Labor Day Special." Several of the videos depict union members as "thugs" who engage in acts of violence or intimidation against those with which they disagree.

Big Government claims organized labor "embrace[s] socialist ideals" and calls for Congress to "abolish 'Labor Day.'" In a Labor Day post on Breitbart's Big Government website, Kyle Olson argued that " 'Labor Day' ought to be abolished and replaced with a celebration of the American Worker" because "[t]he reality is, unionized workers are no longer the ones driving America's prosperity." Olson also wrote:

Big Labor is bankrupting government -- and we should continue honoring that?

Perhaps even worse, today's labor leaders are downright hostile to America's exceptionalism and worse yet, embrace socialist ideals.

AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka is calling for a global financial tax -- driving us down the path of one world government.

Former SEIU heavy Andy Stern was fond of invoking Karl Marx' calling for "workers of the world" to "unite."

These are not out fathers' and grandfathers' labor unions and they do not deserve our admiration.

Malkin column highlights "Big Labor's legacy of violence." Malkin marked the occasion with a column and blog post on "Big Labor's legacy of violence," in which she highlighted alleged past incidents of violence at union protests to smear unions as being filled with and lead by violent thugs. She posted a picture of President Barack Obama and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka with the caption "Thugs-in-chief" and concluded her column by declaring that the "bloody consequences of compulsory unionism cannot be ignored." From her September 3 blog post:

Fox News also attacked unions in the run-up to Labor Day

As Media Matters documented, numerous Fox News personalities bullied organized labor in the days leading up to Labor Day. For instance:

  • Beck: "I think the unions are like Biff," the bully from Back to the Future. During the September 2 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck said, "You know what I think of some of the unions? I actually think of Back to the Future. I think the unions are like Biff." Beck showed a clip featuring Biff Tannen, the bully in the film, and added, "But in the end, once you really realize who they are and you're not afraid anymore, it always turns out exactly the same way for the bully every time." Beck then showed a clip of Biff working for the man he originally bullied.
  • Malkin accused unions of embezzlement, violence, and corruption. During the September 2 edition of Fox News' America Live, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin accused labor leaders of "embezzlement," "violence," and "corruption."
  • Varney: There will be "[t]wo more union outrage stories to bring to you in our next half-hour." During the September 2 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co., guest Joseph Caruso criticized a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would allow more shareholders of public companies to use proxy votes to nominate board members. Caruso claimed that unions would use the rule to "wreak havoc" by nominating labor-friendly board members. In response, Fox Business' Charles Payne suggested, "So, this will be used more as a tool of intimidation than anything else." In a subsequent tease, Varney said, "Two more union outrage stories to bring to you in our next half-hour."
  • Cavuto likened unions to Hurricane Earl on a "collision course on our towns." During the September 2 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto compared unions to Hurricane Earl, saying, "The monster and the mess. Your World on top of Earl's collision course with our coast and what could be unions' collision course with our towns." Cavuto added: "And get ready for Earl's wallop and, to hear some state and local governments tell it, unions' direct hit on their wallet."
  • Carlson: How much of the cost of a Chevy Volt is "because you have to pay the unions so much money?" During a discussion of the Chevy Volt on the September 2 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked, "How much of that money ... is because you have to pay the unions so much money?"
  • Beck: Labor hero is "indoctrinating children." During the September 1 edition of his Fox News show, Beck accused Dolores Huerta, an 80-year-old labor activist who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cà sar Chà vez, of "indoctrinating our children" because she spoke at a high school. Beck also criticized the Labor Department for spending money on what he called a "catchy tune" that included Labor Secretary Hilda Solis saying, "You work hard, and you have the right to be paid fairly," and, "[I]t is a serious problem when workers in this country are not being paid every cent they earn."
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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
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