News Unions Support 'Revolution' of Occupy Wall Street
As the Occupy Everything crowd marches in dozens of cities nationwide, it's obvious their goal is nothing less than "global revolution." It's the phrase that headlines the live video feed. It's the sentiment that flows through their entire series of events - from signs to guest speakers. Egyptian speaker Mohammed Ezzeldin encouraged the crowd with comments such as "We have nothing to lose but our chains," and "Long live revolution." One-time comedienne Roseanne Barr simply called for bankers to be "beheaded."
But anarchists, socialists, anti-capitalists and Hollywood idiots chanting "Vive la revolution" isn't big news. What is news is that the news industry is behind them. This isn't simply the case of select individuals in journalism supporting the protests. They always do. The Washington Post ran four separate pro-Occupier op-eds in the Sunday Oct. 9, paper. And that's just on one day. CNN's Roland Martin called the protesters "American patriots."
The big news here is that two separate news unions, including the newspaper guild, the recognized union for many print and online journalists, and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are fully behind the radical message of Occupy Wall Street.
The newspaper guild is part of the Communications Workers of America, listed prominently among 16 union supporters of Occupy Wall Street. CWA is an omnibus group made up of several smaller unions such as The Newspaper Guild, which "merged with CWA in 1997, as did the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees." They joined the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, also part of CWA. CWA, in turn, is also affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the International Federation of Journalists. Look for the union label and you find it on a card in the wallet of many journalists.
The newspaper guild isn't subtle about its support either. The guild's website leads with a Paul Krugman pro-protest piece headlined: "Confronting the Malefactors." That's just above an AP story on the protests, describing how unions are aiding the movement.
Even more obvious is the lead story for the guild's publication, "The Guild Reporter." Editor Andy Zipser combined the Wisconsin union battle with hopes that it would continue and complained that "right-wing governors and legislators in a score of states pushed an asylum's menu of loony legislation."
The journalists' publication went on to criticize "Republicans," "the Tea Party," "the Kochs," Republican Wisconsin "Gov. Scott Walker," the "radical right," the "GOP" and "its rabid right wing" at least a dozen times by name in about 700 words.
I love objective journalism.
Naturally, that conflicts with the organization's own constitution. Article I of the Newspaper Guild's constitution describes its purpose to include promoting "industrial unionism" while also able to:
- "Guarantee, as far as it is able, equal employment and advancement opportunity in the newspaper industry and constant honesty in news, editorials, advertising, and business practices.
- "Raise the standards of journalism and ethics of the industry."
Honesty and ethics always sound better in theory, I'm guessing.
The other union is the Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE). It describes itself as a "labor union of thousands of professionals who are the primary creators of what is seen or heard on television and film in the U.S.," and that includes "everything from big budget movies to independent films, late night comedy/variety shows to daytime serials, broadcast and radio news, web series, documentaries, and animation."
That guild led its own website with a picture of the guild banner flying at an Occupy Wall Street protest. According to the site, "Writers Guild members joined thousands of other union members and students in support of Occupy Wall Street at a rally in Foley Square on October 5." Inside, the guild featured more pictures, including one guild member wearing a Writers Guild of America, East T-shirt and holding a sign saying: "No Bulls, No Bears, Only Pigs."
Both organizations have a large volume of information for the profession on their websites, from job postings to how to join to information on strikes. There's no code of ethics included on either site.
Fortunately, the Society of Professional Journalists has an ethical code. It's only voluntary, but still useful. It contains a few guidelines that both unions might find useful. Journalists should:
- "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived."
- "Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility."
- "Disclose unavoidable conflicts."
- "Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage."
Get back to me when journalists have done any of these things regarding Occupy Wall Street.
Instead, we are expecting them to cover these protests like they are unsympathetic, not involved. Their own unions prove that to be a lie.
Meanwhile, the obvious extreme left-wing aspect to the protests is hard to find in news coverage. Nearly nine out of 10 news stories on the protests leave that pesky detail out.
When Hugo Chavez spoke to the protesters, it barely raised a media eyebrow. As the Socialists strongman "addressed the crowd live from Venezuela a giant hammer and sickle was hoisted from the crowd in New York," according to Examiner.com. That would certainly seem, um, newsworthy.
In a web video example, an unhinged protest supporter dubbed "AnonGuyNYC," declared "bankers are the problem," called them "scum of the earth" and wanted them "brought to account." One scenario he mentioned was "a real run on Wall Street where the public goes into their offices and dispenses frontier justice on their person." Imagine if a Tea Party video had said such things. You couldn't have read all the media coverage in a month of Sundays.
It's important to understand that journalistic love for these protests isn't just the standard lefty support for such stupidity, like you get from a lib company such as Ben & Jerry's. (Corporate motto: "We make over-priced ice cream and use some of the profits to bash capitalism.") They aren't just backing ordinary protesters who might be down on their luck and in need of help. This isn't even the standard media worship for all things loony left - the kind usually reserved for Democratic presidents and Socialist dictators.
No, this is a pure unadulterated endorsement of the radical left - those who hate America, capitalism, free markets, success and, of course, anything conservative. The kind that openly call for "revolution" and few in the media seem to notice. That's who these journalist unions are marching in lockstep with.
You say you want a revolution? Apparently, journalists sure do.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.