Good News

WASHINGTON — Little-noticed in the tumult of the presidential campaign an the teetering economy, the Teamsters have racked up a series of organizing and contract wins, and may be on the verge of another, at United Air Lines.

The wins range from signing up approximately two-thirds of the workers at UPS Freight — the former Overnite Express — to breaking into the Deep South bastion of Mobile, Ala., by first winning a recognition vote last July and then getting a contract last month, with the help of the NAACP, at the New Era cap company there.

Mark Gruenberg, Monday, March 24, 2008

I’ve never liked this idea that the news should cover ‘good news’ although it’s very clearly true that the major networks and cable news shows push violence. I watched FOX the other morning at the gym and for nearly an hour it was murder after murder after murder. It’s a weird smoke-screen, too, because all of the moral outrage seems to dissipate when the subject changes to the state-sponsored violence in Iraq.

It’s also true that the ‘bad news’ focus makes the presidential race freakishly narrow minded. Really, it becomes ‘bad news horse race’ news. Obama and Clinton are essentially tied, and neither has much of a chance of winning by getting enough delegates. Yet the media narrative has become, “Will Hillary Clinton destroy the Democratic party by refusing to give up?” It’s part of ‘acceptable sexism.’

Why aren’t Obama and Clinton engaged in a fierce competition over ideas about justice and the economy and the war and health care and so on? That’s a better question. This is the context that made the labor news refreshing. It shows that there are media out there offering ‘good news’ of a substantive sort. Now if we could only get ABC to ask the candidates how they would help extend the winning streak.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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