VIDEO: Taking on FOX News - Are Public Workers the Problem?

As state and city budget battles come to a head everywhere, FOX News is stepping up its steady stream of public sector union-bashing. This week I had a chance to counter with my two cents, laying out who’s responsible for the red ink and what we can do about it.

Tuesday’s segment demonstrated that Rupert Murdoch is a firm believer in product integration. Tracy Byrne, the host of “America’s Nightly Scoreboard” (speaking on Murdoch-owned FOX) lifted every number and argument she made from the (Murdoch-owned) Wall Street Journal’s editorial page without mentioning her source.

It was also made clear that the Journal’s editorial page is no part of the fact-based community.

In his op-ed this week, the Manhattan Institute’s Steve Malanga attempted to “expose” New Jersey schools for padding their payroll. He says the Garden State added 69,000 students between 2000 and 2009, but in the same period added 33,000 full-time staff.

Leaving aside the fact that his numbers don’t actually match data from the state’s website, Malanga neglects to mention that after all this supposed out-of-control spending, the student-staff ratio only improved by half a point, from 7.1 to 6.5.



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Is that outlandish “featherbedding,” in a period where CEO pay has exploded from 143 times as much as the average blue-collar worker at the start of the decade to 343 times as much today?

FOX and the Wall Street Journal are only willing to discuss one half of the budget ledger—the spending side—and how it can be decimated.

When it comes to the revenue side, especially taxes on corporations and the very wealthy, they want to change the subject.

No surprise, since it’s pretty hard to defend companies like GE, which made $13 billion in profit last year and paid less taxes than I did. The same goes for Boeing, too busy sticking it to their union workforce to pay any taxes on the $10 billion in profits they’ve made since the recession started.

We're not broke! Big business and the super-rich are swimming in cash. FOX may have the chutzpah to tell us we’re broke and the only solution is even more tax breaks.

But after the Wisconsin uprising, more and more people are asking where are the pitchforks?

Mark Brenner is the former director of Labor Notes and is currently an instructor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education & Research Center.