A couple of years ago Pew Research surveyed news coverage of the economy during the first half of 2009. Who drove stories? Who got quoted in stories? The answer was pretty much what you'd expect: the president, the White House, business leaders, academics, politicians, and ordinary citizens. Do you notice anyone missing from this list? Pew did:
One subset of the American workforce was virtually shut out of the coverage entirely. Representatives of organized labor unions were sources in a mere 2% of all the economy stories studied.
But that was reporting about a financial crisis. Surely things would be different if the story dominating the news was specifically about a state governor's attempt to gut a union and the union's attempt to fight back? Eddie Vale, AFL-CIO political communications director, sets us straight:
While we appreciate coverage of this impt issue quite odd not a single union member or officer invited on any of the Sunday shows
Actually, not so odd at all. In fact, it's par for the course. Unless it's a story about how unions are ruining American education or destroying state pension funds, today's press isn't much interested in what they have to say.
More about this on Tuesday morning, when my piece in the current issue of MoJo about the decline of unions and the not-so-coincidental decline of American liberalism goes online.