Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Can we make journalism a "closed shop"?

This morning, CNBC laughingstock Jim Cramer & the NY Times' Aaron Sorkin were on the set of Morning Joe and together with the cast of the show managed to show their complete ignorance of not only corporate America and labor, but also their ignorance of the very hands that feed them.

They were discussing how the world is going to end, due to the fact that union reps get carte blanche with the Obama Administration, when Cramer said: "If they get card check, I got to tell you...I think Wal-Mart, cut in half. I think most of the department stores will suffer mightily." This led Sorkin to utter the following: "Name a successful unionized company. Think. You're going to go to break before you come up with one. And that's the problem."

Let's deal with Cramer's comment first. Not since Cosmo Kramer went all David Duke on that comedy stage, has someone named Cramer had so little credibility than the host of Mad Money. Seriously. I'll clue you folks in on how smart this jackass is: He keeps whining about how hard John Stewart was on him. That's right, the guy who told people to leave their money in Bear, nothing to worry about there, only to watch it disappear. The same guy who went on the Daily Show and told Stewart how horrible the "shenanigans" Wall Street had done to lead us to this economic crisis were, this short selling and market manipulation, and explained he had tried to stop it. Only to then sit there like a turd on a log while Stewart cued up video of him explaining during a televised seminar just how to do those very same shenanigans and how good they felt. The guy who didn't think a CEO would lie to him about the solvency of his business. This is the same guy who is warning you that the sky is gonna fall over card checking. At least Cosmo Kramer was entertaining. This Cramer is simply an annoying gasbag.

Having dealt with Cramer, let's move on to the rest of these "journalists." First, not a single one was smart enough to point out to Sorkin that he was making this comment in front of a studio full of unionized NBC employees. Or, let's take it step further. As Media Matters points out:

GE is one of the world's largest companies; in 2006, its revenues were greater
than the gross domestic products of 80 percent of UN nations. The company made
more than $18 billion in 2008 -- again, billion with a b, and again, those are
profits, not revenue. All that despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that
13 different unions represent GE workers.

Come on, you say? How can I expect Joe, Mika and Mike to know such things? What's that...I should know that they are not really journalists? You're right...there a very few journalists anymore. Everyone is just a talking head now. I mean, a journalist would call someone out when they were completely full of shit. (For a good example of calling bullshit, click here.) I probably should simply be happy that Mika is so hot and that Joe provides plenty of unintentional comedy by stealing Sally Jesse's glasses and wearing them every now and then. Well...maybe I just thought they'd know a little bit about GE, because as Media Matters also points out:

GE owns NBC-Universal, which owns MSNBC, which pays Joe Scarborough a handsome salary (and the unionized workers who help get his show on the air considerably less.)

Does Joe Scarborough think NBC and GE are not "successful" companies?
Does Mika Brzezinski think the unionized workers she no doubt interacts with
every day are crippling her ability to do her job, or her employer's ability to
be successful?

Here's what Union leader James Hoffa had to say about this stupidity, in a release to TPM:

"Sorkin and the Morning Joe crew just showed their complete failure to
understand how unions contribute to the success of the American economy by
blindly assuming that unionized companies haven't been profitable in the last
year," said James Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, in a statement to TPMDC.

Off the top of my head I can give you several Teamster-represented
companies who continue to thrive, despite the economic downturn, but there are
thousands more: UPS, Eight O'Clock Coffee, Coca-Cola Enterprises, PepsiCo,
Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. The Morning Joe team really should be
embarrassed for showing their lack of knowledge on the subject."

That would be James P. Hoffa, not James R. Hoffa. If Jimmy Hoffa had actually commented on this matter, that would be news!

Off the record, an irritated union organizer told TPM to "ask [Sorkin] if
he's received any packages from UPS in the past five years or so, or flown on
Southwestern Airlines during that time? (Media Matters also named UPS as successful unionized company which had $3 Billion--with a B, people--in profits last year--that's profits, people. Not revenue).

And is he aware that, in using those companies, like millions of
others, he was a customer of two of the most innovative and successful unionized
companies in the world? You could ask him how the American supermarket
industries survives, given that it's about 80% unionized? You could ask him how
the rest of the advanced capitalist world manages to compete with the U.S. given
that the unionization rate in every advanced capitalist country in the world is
greater, often far greater than ours---and that that is reflected in their
unionization density of their respective transnational corporations."

I'd like to point out something to those that attack unions. Yes...they have their problems. But...uh...good old corporate capitalism does not? There are millions of people across the world today that are enjoying higher wages, health care, retirement and other benefits that they never would have had it not been for unions. My pops worked for the Railroad and just like the song, worked it all the live long day, until he retired. And people like Sorkin and Cramer can knock unions all they want, but unions helped my dad support his kids and it has given him a retirement and healthcare.

So, Morning Joe crew, why don't you heed to words of the greatest Republican president of all-time, Abraham Lincoln:

But another class of reasoners hold the opinion that there is no such relation
between capital and labor as assumed; that there is no such thing as a free man
being fatally fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer; that both
these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them groundless. They hold
that labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact, capital is
the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed;
that labor can exist without capital, but that capital could never have existed
without labor. Hence they hold that labor is the superior – greatly the superior
– of capital. They do not deny that there is, and probably always will be, a
relation between labor and capital. The error, as they hold, is in assuming that
the whole labor of the world exists within that relation.

With the words above, Lincoln was describing "free labor – the just, and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all, gives hope to all, and energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to all."

And that's all I care to say about that.

No comments: