The $70-an-hour Autoworker Myth

During the Automotive crisis that has erupted in the last few weeks, many false narratives are being implanted by the right wing thugs that helped p

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During the Automotive crisis that has erupted in the last few weeks, many false narratives are being implanted by the right wing thugs that helped push our economy off the cliff. Eric Boehlert tackles this latest smear that our media is ignoring. Don't you think it would be important for our media to actually do some in depth reporting on this issue instead of reciting misleading, conservative talking points?

Indeed, that $70-an-hour meme, actively promoted by the anti-union conservative media, has ricocheted around the traditional press as well as the political landscape, where it was picked up by congressional critics last week during hearings and used to argue against aiding GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

But what's obvious to me is that it's harmful to public discourse when the press, on such a central issue facing our country, fails to clearly state the facts and instead perpetuates misinformation with sloppy reporting -- reporting that seems to hold blue-collar workers to a different standard than their white-collar counterparts.

But having the media echo conservative misinformation and bandy about urban-myth salary figures about allegedly high-on-the-hog GM workers does not constitute a careful review of the facts.

Question: Is the press just being sloppy on this issue of supposedly pampered autoworkers, or are there other elements in play? Because honestly, I've had trouble escaping the not-very-subtle elitist, get-a-load-of-this tone that has run through the media's misinformation on the topic; i.e., "These autoworkers get paid that?!"

Answer: No, they don't, so please stop reporting it. (And why has the press been so reticent to note that Big Three autoworkers recently made significant concessions to management?)

Make no mistake: The $70-an-hour claim represents a classic case of conservative misinformation. It's also a very dangerous one. The falsehood about autoworkers is being spread at a crucial time, when a make-or-break public debate is taking place, a debate that could affect millions of American workers...read on

And as Jane says, the UAW has done a terrible job in handling their side of the PR battle:

This is largely because the UAW has, without question, executed the worst, most non-existent public relations campaign ever. It's just shocking how bad they are at this, leaving everyone to scramble in their defense. Tying their fate to the automakers and leaving it to the CEOs to present their case seems fraught with risk. (If I was Gettlefinger I'd be on a plane to China looking for buyers to save my members' pensions, but nobody asked me.)

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