Thursday, August 21, 2008

Curatola: It's Was Just Business

The star of the corporate-backed, Sopranos-themed ad campaign to re-elect Sen. Collins speaks:

“As a working actor, I am provided with many opportunities to appear in commercials,” [Vincent Curatola] said in a statement made available by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. “These are business decisions and do not reflect my personal views or opinions.”
UPDATE: Another terrible article from Blethen on the ads.

This one actually includes much of the information a careful, informed reader needs to figure out that the spots are lies. But it packages the facts in a way that seems designed to make it as difficult as possible to reach that conclusion.

Consider the opening:

Legislation that would allow organizers to unionize workplaces without secret-ballot elections...
Already, this is extraordinarily misleading: It strongly suggests that workers aren't currently allowed to organize without elections. But reporter Noel K. Gallagher knows this is false.

How do I know? Because she (he?) says so.

Today, when a union organizing effort is under way, workers are asked to sign cards seeking a union.

At that point, one of two things can happen: An employer can accept the cards and recognize the union, or it can require an election.
So then why start the piece with the flagrant misrepresentation that elections are currently mandatory? And why do we have to wait 16 paragraphs to learn the truth that the lede conceals? It's not clear.

It's also not clear why Gallagher observes, way up in the third paragraph, that "Opponents say the change would take away workers' right to an anonymous vote" when she clearly knows the charge isn't true--it's the privileges of the employer that are at stake.

And you have to wait to paragraph 25 (!) to learn that, "if 30 percent of the workers want an election, they can have one." Workers retain that right under the proposed legislation.

(So much for the pyramid style of reporting.)

Finally, while the article is pegged to the airing of the ads, it never mentions the claims made in them or asks their sponsor why the spots resort to false assertions.

Of course, that would require making powerful people uncomfortable. And that's something PPH seems awfully reluctant to do.

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