Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Pre-Emptive Strike in the Class War

The Wall Street Journal (May 19) reports that the anti-union group Center for Union Facts has launched "what may be the first TV commercial designed to disparage the labor movement as a whole." The ad ran on Fox and on various local stations earlier this month and will run again in the summer. The ad was financed by $3 million raised from undisclosed companies, foundations and individuals.

The man behind this, the head of Center for Union Facts, is Richard Berman. The Center for Media and Democracy says "Rick Berman is a right-wing lobbyist who has built a lucrative career establishing industry-funded front groups including FishScam.com, the Center for Consumer Freedom, the Employment Policies Institute, the Employment Roundtable and ActivistCash.com. Berman specializes in personal attacks, smear tactics and playing loose with the facts. He has raised millions of dollars from tobacco, booze, biotech, fast food, grocery and other businesses eager to pay Berman to do their dirty work." According to the Wall Street Journal "Mr. Berman has helped design several similar advocacy-ad campaigns, including efforts critical of animal-rights activists and Greenpeace."

A good discussion of the Center for Union Facts can be found here. According to this source, the facts listed by the Center for Union Facts are true. "The problem is, the information is provided entirely without context or any explanation which would present the unions in other than a negative light... [I]t characterizes unions based on the actions of a few, as though all business could be understood in the light of Enron."

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