The news media that David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald have caught pretending they had nothing to do with the Bush Propaganda Storm of 2001-03 are giving equally thoughtful passes to Elaine Chao's Labor Dept. The WaPo headline says "Labor Dept. Accused of Straying From Enforcement". "Straying"? Like they got pushed off course by the wind or something, nothing they could do about it?
That's not writer Michael Fletcher's descriptive term but it's a more-or-less accurate description of the sense of the people Fletcher has chosen to interview, who are all being pretty careful, though after the IG's report and the GAO report, one has to wonder why.
But in Michael's he said/she said, QuickTyme News reporting, one simply doesn't have time/money/space/place your own excuse here to explain or even mention such things. And in any case they are simply unexplainable, political phenomena that have no beginning and no end, no progenitor, and for which no one is or can be held responsible. It was, like, "Fate, Man".
And those damn "Labor activists".
Labor activists say that focusing so closely on the concerns of employers shortchanges workers and that a shift in emphasis is long overdue. Under President Bush, they say, the pendulum has swung far away from enforcement, leaving workers vulnerable to dangerous workplaces and with little protection from exploitive employers.
In July, the Government Accountability Office issued a report alleging that the Labor Department did an inadequate job of investigating complaints by low-wage workers who alleged that their employers were stiffing them for overtime, or failing to pay the minimum wage. That report followed another that found troubling inconsistencies in how the department handled individual worker complaints. Department officials have disputed both reports, calling them inaccurate.
Still, they caught the attention of President-elect Barack Obama...
Imagine that. In spite of the fact that it was those damn activists making all that noise (oh, and the GAO), Obama listened anyway and made an actual phone call. Fletcher is bemused. What will this strange creature do next? Make it illegal to work somebody for 40 hrs but only pay him for 20? How will American business cope with such Draconian rules?
*sigh* Cluelessness continues at the WaPo. Let's face it, the press didn't follow or do much of a job on any story anytime during the "War Years" except what the Buish Admin told them to do. Labor was absolutely one of their least favorite beats to cover and for years finding out what Elaine was up to meant reading the foreign press because the US press couldn't have cared less.
Neither the information in the IG report that showed how few prosecutions had been carried out on businesses compared to other presidencies (and it sure wasn't because Corporate America was nicer to its workers) nor the stats in the GAO report that sliced her up for falsifying data so it would look better for Bush and his policies, were first reported by any American news media though both have been glaringly apparent for several years. I have complained consistently here and on the other blogs over most of Chao's tenure that the Labor Dept stats, for example, consistently were suspiciously Bush-friendly, and soon I was reporting - weeks or months after they'd first been announced - that they had been "adjusted" and were (now that no one was paying any attention) nowhere near as healthy-looking as Chao's first version. So I, a non-trained, unpaid, amateur could see something that got right past highly-trained, highly-paid professional "journalists"?
I'm a smart guy but it really didn't take much but the one thing the US media lacked: either the willingness or the simple guts to ask questions, to doubt the Great God Bush. They have been nothing short of pathetic and they apparently mean to continue in the same vein.
They must because they're setting up their excuses ahead of time.