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He does have a point

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018

* Phil Kadner

Now “union” is a dirty word. Whenever a Sun-Times story mentions “union” these days, the word is quickly followed by an explanation that the ownership of this newspaper includes a number of union organizations.

Newspapers owned by rich guys and run by corporations (and that’s almost all of them) do not include such disclaimers in stories about tax cuts for big business or appointments of Supreme Court justices expected to rule against the rights of workers.

It would be refreshing to see something like, “For the sake of disclosure we must reveal that our multi-millionaire owner is going to benefit substantially from government deregulation, which is likely to pollute your drinking water and increase the likelihood that your children will die from cancer.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 6:25 am:

    “He does have a point”

    And a damn good point at that.

    – MrJM


  2. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:37 am:

    That’s great. It is so useful to have invisible biases pointed out.


  3. - lost in the weeds - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:40 am:

    Who owns the public free speech space? The ones not disclosing.

    Money = Speech, therefore speech is nor free.


  4. - Latvia - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:45 am:

    Unions and Big Corporations own this state. If you have the influence of Big Corporations, but not Big Unions then you are part of the problem.


  5. - Latvia - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:46 am:

    * hate not have


  6. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 7:58 am:

    This is a problem that’s been decades in the making. It started years ago when we were told we didn’t have sufficient empathy and weren’t doing enough for the “job creators.” We needed to save from them burdensome regulations, unreasonable worker protections, and let the “free market” decide winners and losers all in the name of maintaining our democracy.


  7. - dbk - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:32 am:

    That last statement by Rich: I really liked that.

    In the same vein: “and not only your drinking water, but the air you breathe and the land your food grows in. 76 environmental regulations already rolled back - and that’s before the new SCOTUS nominee has been seated.”


  8. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:44 am:

    Americans, especially Illinoisans, have been willingly bamboozled into supporting corporate America and their economic elite owners. This is in large part a reason for the lack of growth in real wages for the last 35 years or more.

    “Taxes are to high” and “taxes are bad” make it political suicide (at times) to talk about the need for revenue for government. The burden is increasingly pushed to middle income disproportionately from those who benefit the most.

    If we look to Kansas we can see that reducing taxes is not en economic growth accelerator. It may be counter intuitive, but it is the truth.


  9. - A State Employee Guy - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:45 am:

    What, uh, what point is that exactly?


  10. - Techie - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 8:59 am:

    @A State Employee Guy

    The point being that the Sun Times should not feel the need to bend over backwards and point out that it is partly owned by unions.

    When corporations own papers, they do not go out of their way to tell you that, even though it could and often does influence the slant of the paper.

    So the point is that a paper like the Sun Times shouldn’t feel obligated to disclose its ownership anymore than any other paper does (and those corporate-owned papers don’t).


  11. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:15 am:

    The problem is, thanks to Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, we have moved from the world of stakeholder capitalism to the world of shareholder capitalism and unions (thank goodness) are getting in their way.


  12. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:15 am:

    The point is easily countered by the fact that rich powerful people and organizations come in all political stripes; unions for the most part are solidly aligned with one political party.


  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:19 am:

    –What, uh, what point is that exactly?–

    Now that you’ve sounded out the words, read again for comprehension.

    What should the Tribbie disclaimer have been under Zell/Bankuptcy Trustee/Ferro.

    “The Tribune is owned by anti-union bust-out grifters who wear pants with rubber pockets so they can steal hot soup from their employees.”


  14. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:28 am:

    The problem is (thanks to Milton Friedman and the Chicago School) we have moved from the world of stakeholder capitalism to the world of shareholder capitalism and unions (thank goodness) are getting in their way.


  15. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:48 am:

    To be fair, whenever WaPo does an article about Amazon or anything else Bezos related, they disclose that he owns that paper.


  16. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:54 am:

    I recall writing to President Obama, maybe urging him to fight Republican obstruction. I got back a response saying something weak and fuzzy, along the lines of we should strive for bipartisanship.

    Yeah, that’s all nice, but your opponents are trying to decimate you. Trump is trying to obliterate Obama’s legacy. Fight back.

    Liberals/Democrats/the left have to stop being so deferential, in my opinion. Qualifying union ownership is part of this. In this age, we ought to take ownership of who we are and stand strongly for it. We have Rauner and his allies, who want to wipe out public employee unions and hurt all unions, and have all but tanked an entire state to do so.

    Don’t take it lying down or be indifferent to it, like Madigan. Rauner’s calling government people corrupt after having profited immensely from those people, for decades? Madigan/DPI should always be calling this out and fighting back. Someone will always dislike us. Never mind that. Stand up strong and proud, and deliver the political blows as well as respond in kind.


  17. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 9:59 am:

    Oh my God exactly
    Thank you so so much
    The vilification of unions is so intense right now
    I wish you could see things from my view
    I’ve got capricious crappy and petty management
    The union and the contract protect me
    I know how important that is because I was forced to resign once in the private sector because I criticized the boss. The next day they said 15 minutes were unaccounted for in my log. They forced me to resign. No protection. No progressive discipline. No representation. 5 years down the drain because of a new sheister ex pharmaceutical sales rep boss.
    There is no democratic process in corporations.
    Unions bring democratic process. We elect our leaders and we protect and defend the contract.
    I won’t apologize for being on the workers side
    Big business has offshored Trillions
    Let’s talk about the undemocratic influence of that money


  18. - Mike Royko - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    Disclosing a potential conflict of interest enhances credibility. Having said that conflicts of interest are far down the list of what ails the newspaper business.


  19. - TopHatMonocle - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    If ownership requested coverage for something union-related that otherwise wouldn’t be be written about, they should include the disclaimer. It’s plausible they gave a blanket instruction to cover more union and labor related issues, in which case disclosure would be broadly appropriate.


  20. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:43 am:

    ==Disclosing a potential conflict of interest enhances credibility.==

    Maybe in the 60’s or 70’s this was true, but in 2018 this only applies to the very few going into a news story with an open mind. Partisans (which is pretty much everyone now) dismiss any story from a news source that doesn’t already slant towards their biases. The S-T putting this disclaimer in their stories isn’t going to convince any conservatives to trust their reporting, they’ll just pass right over a S-T article and go straight to the trib or fox news


  21. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    Eat the Rich. Proud and Union Strong.


  22. - South Sider - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    @Grandson of Man: couldn’t agree more. Well said.


  23. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jul 11, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    =I got back a response saying something weak and fuzzy, along the lines of we should strive for bipartisanship.=

    It was probably something along the lines of “when they go low we go high.” Very aspirational but here’s the reality, they win.

    Trump makes it clear that “losers” can have the moral high ground. That’s not to say that Democrats have to stoop to his level, but they absolutely need to know what they’re up against and change tactics.


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