Editorial Bias and Purposeful Omission

As many here may know, Michigan is one of the bluest of blue states in the country.  Historically, Right-To-Work has been talked about and immediately dismissed as improbable, if not impossible for Michigan, as it has been dominated by the political left, and a history of powerful unions.

The most recent election changing the legislature, judiciary, and executive branch to Republican held institutions has given hope to some UAW union members who started a grass roots effort for right to work in Michigan.  Given the new political make-up of Michigan’s elected offices, it would appear that the time is nigh for such a move.

The political nature of support and intimidation by unions in some cases, leads to a certain reticence amongst legislators who might otherwise be seen as an automatic yea vote on such issues.  To offer support for those who might not be as comfortable taking a stand, it was thought that perhaps support from the local populations through the local governments would be helpful.  A resolution was drawn up and brought before the county commission in Grand Traverse County first on July 6th and then for a final vote on July 27th.

The resolution as passed July 27 can be seen on the Freedom To Work site.  This press release was issued on this past Friday, and delivered to several news outlets across the state of Michigan including the major outlets in metropolitan areas.

First Local Government To Weigh In On Right To Work Debate
Michigan County Commission Passes Resolution Supporting “Freedom To Work”
For immediate Release
July 29, 2011

Contact: Jason Gillman 231-xxx-xxxx [redacted]

Traverse City, Michigan – Grand Traverse County Commissioners Wednesday night approved a resolution supporting a recent grass roots effort to establish Right To Work in Michigan.  The Resolution will be delivered to, and calls on Governor Rick Snyder, and local representatives Howard Walker and Wayne Schmidt to enact a “Freedom To Work” act, “that will safeguard our individual freedom and civil rights by guaranteeing that all persons in Michigan have the right, freely and without fear of penalty, to form, join, or assist a labor organization, or to refrain from any such activity in order to to acquire, keep or maintain employment. And that the act should not create Right to work zones only”

In a packed county chamber, the commission voted to support this resolution which according to Grand Traverse County Commissioner Jason Gillman will likely be only the first of several similar resolutions throughout the state.  Gillman authored the resolution that passed 7-2 in the month’s end meeting, reaffirming a 5-2 passage from the July 6th public health and safety committee meeting.

“The participation by the community on this issue was incredible and unmatched historically,” said Gillman. “Aside from the ability of Right To Work states to attract employers, which creates jobs, this is a way to help municipalities pay for their public sector employees. Other neighboring county commissioners have asked for copies of the language to examine for their own efforts”

Grand Traverse County as a part of the passage, will also be distributing the resolution to each of the other counties in Michigan.

More information can be found at the Michigan Freedom to Work site http://www.mifreedomtowork.org/

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It should be mentioned that the committee of the whole (Public Health & Safety) which convened on the 6th of July, passed the original resolution 5-2 after more than thirty people testified both for, and against the resolution.  There were approximately 80 in attendance in the medium sized chambers, filling to capacity plus.  On the Morning prior to the PH&S meeting, the local news outlet The Traverse City Record Eagle noted (on the front page) that other commissioners saw it as a “waste of time”.

July 6, 2011

Gillman brings ‘right-to-work’ to board

BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY bmcgillivary@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — A Grand Traverse County commissioner plans to launch his own brand of fireworks at tonight’s county board meeting when he seeks support for a contentious, union-related issue that other commissioners consider a waste of time.

Commissioner Jason Gillman will ask the board to adopt a resolution to encourage Gov. Rick Snyder, state Rep. Wayne Schmidt and state Sen. Howard Walker to support legislation to make Michigan a so-called “right-to-work” state.

Gillman, a tea party activist, joined a new organization that has pushed for a state law to prohibit employers from requiring new hires to join a union or pay a service fee to help offset the union’s cost of negotiating wages and benefits.

The remainder of the story is available by subscription only.

The “waste of time” comment in the print edition of the newspaper, of which I subscribe, did not attribute that comment to any specific commissioner. Though it was reported that other commissioners consider it a “waste of time,” not a single commissioner was directly quoted as saying so in the print edition.

This lapse in journalistic follow-through was then highlighted by an absence in that newspaper, of the vote result for the committee until 4 days later on an inside section.

Both votes happened with packed chambers, yet the results were not newsworthy according to the local paper of record’s actions.  At least not as worthy as stories of parking meter removals, destruction of character of elected officials, or making sure every editorial page cartoon paints tea party or conservative folks as a little “touched.”

In June, the Owner of the Record Eagle Fired (removed, changed, or something) the 3rd of 4th “publisher” in the last decade.  A move that suggests failing subscription rates and profitability are a problem. Yet the editorial staff remains intact.

There is no bias.  Right?

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