News Cycles

Posted on March 19, 2011 by

Of course Japan and Libya have moved Madison off the top of the news cycle.

The death, destruction and nuclear nightmare in Japan and the escalating conflict in Libya clearly overshadow Joe Biden’s rambling assurance to union leaders and activists that the administration is with us.

And even though a Wisconsin judge temporarily blocked the new anti-union law, that doesn’t match the dramatic elements of the massive protests which pushed the needle on public opinion.

The long-planned downtown Los Angeles union rally on March 26 will again stimulate the discussion of labor’s role in the economy followed a week later by demonstrations across America in support of Wisconsin workers and collective bargaining.

I hope these actions communicate that Madison was the start of something big and enduring.

Even so, it does seem a little odd talking about this in the face of the shocking, frightening and overwhelming tragedy in Japan and the intervention in Libya by the U.S. and our allies.  Making sense of these crises, catastrophes and entanglements may be above my pay grade.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like a citizen of the world.  My real affinity is now with America’s working-class: people of all races and national origins plagued by low wages and unemployment.

As for how it all fits together, I’ll let someone else connect the dots.

Comments (6)


  1. Alan K. says:

    Well, as Tip O’Neill said, “All politics are local,” so you don’t have to ‘apologize’ for focusing in on the immediate where you have the ability to actually change things. If we all tended to the matters and injustices at home, the world would indeed be a better place.

    As to Wisconsin, did anyone else observe that ABC’s World Nightly News with Diane Sawyer never covered it when it was the #1 news story. They continued to ignore it even when the prank phone call from the Koch-sound-a-like captured the attention of nearly all the rest of the media. The only time that ABC World Nightly News (Disney) covered it was at the denouement, some three weeks later and, then, only to show for appx. 20 seconds, if that, demonstrators being hauled out of the capitol building after the legislation was passed. ABC’s corporate bias was every where in evidence by their stone-walling of the real issues and, then, by the attempt to cast the demonstrators as unruly radicals.

    On the other hand, Brian Williams on NBC (GE) Nightly News gave good coverage and led with the story and followed it all along. He’s the man who stayed with the Katrina catastrophe and wouldn’t let it be forgotten.

  2. Dan says:

    In this age of the ability to be anywhere in the world at once, it’s unfortunate that we often lose the focus of the moment past, even if it’s a local story and important as hell. We, on the other hand, may have got more mileage out of the story if someone had made the connection of our quest for justice with other struggles for justice that were occurring simultaneously: Egypt, Tunisia, etc.

  3. Ben says:

    the Wisconsin story, and the Ohio, Indiana and other stories should be front page news and top stories on all the networks, so I have no problem with your reasoning here. The fact is, though, that they are top news stories around the world, not just in the USA. I heard that the Wisconsin demonstrators were getting pizzas ordered for them by Egyptians on their cell phones. Why? Because, in my opinion, people around the planet get that the US is still the world’s biggest economy with a ruling class that believes it has the right to dominate the global economy and has been itching to do so since the end of WW II. And if US workers and their allies, especially those of us in the organized part of our working class, are willing to put themselves on the line to challenge the policy and the aims of that ruling class, that is a souce of inspiration to workers and oppressed people everywhere. Am I going a little overboard here? Maybe, but it could be that we–US workers, organized and unorganized–are now being pushed to the point where we have no choice but to stand up for our own basic interests. Sooner or later, hopefully sooner, that will require of us that we say that it’s time for the US foreign policy establishment/corporate minded ruling class to either change the way they relate to the rest of the world, or else move over, so that saner more humane and people-oriented forces in our country can give it a try.

  4. Cathy Deppe says:

    At Rev. James Lawson’s seminar on non-violence yesterday, he reminded us that Ghandi said we have to be our own media. The internet helps us do this of course. But we should continue to meet face to face, talk to people who may not agree with us, and develop our own unified message to put out through our own publications. Corporate media will never cover our movement for us.

  5. Greg says:

    We know this administration has not got us covered. Government will not protect our movement, so all we have is ourselves. See you on the streets of Los Angeles March 26th.

  6. Gavin says:

    After spending all day at the California State Fed. legislative conference today with many of California Unions, labor leaders, labor bodies, and politicians – the spirit of Wisconsin is strong here today and many discussions on what labor can do. My is hope that it continues to build and labor uses the wake up call to keep moving forward. Jerry Brown gave great speech and many friendly politicos were here as well.

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