Media Matters for America is a great resource. They listen to Rush Limbaugh so we don’t have to. They’re kind of like Christ in that way: suffering for the sins of the right wing echo chamber. But I’ve always been a little bit skeptical of them, because let’s face it: David Brock has a questionable past. He is, after all, the totally unprincipled writer of The Real Anita Hill. And even after his liberal awakening, he used the same disreputable conservative tactics to push his book Blinded by the Right. I’ve always felt that Brock wasn’t so much a liberal as a New Democrat. And regular readers should know that I believe that the New Democrats have been responsible for destroying both the Democratic and Republican parties. (See for just one example, Robert Rubin and the Villainy of the New Democrats.)
So I was not surprised on Monday when Huffington Post published, Media Matters Employees Feel “Betrayed” By Management’s Opposition to Their Union. According to the article, “Media Matters management recently declined to recognize the union through the ‘card check’ process, instead exercising its right to force a union election under National Labor Relations Board oversight.” Card check is where a union can collect employees’ identification cards and present them to the management to indicate that the employees want to join the union. Businesses hate this because it doesn’t allow them to run their usual little campaign of fear and intimidation to change the vote. And because we don’t live in a democracy, companies are not required to accept card check.
But Media Matters is a liberal organization. Being liberal is a big part of their brand. Surely they would accept card check! But of course not. Because when you get right down to it, Media Matters is still a company, even if it is a nonprofit. The managers still make more money than the workers. And the more money the workers make, the less will be available for management salaries. And those salaries, while hardly excessive are certainly not bad. According to Poynter back in 2011:
- David Brock (chairman/CEO): $286,804
- Eric Burns (president): $240,579
- Tate Williams (chief of staff): $162,812
- Eric Boehlert (senior fellow): $115,000
- Ari Rabin-Havt (VP-communications and strategy): $134,484
I could be all wrong about Media Matters, of course. And I thought I was when I a saw a Politico headline today, Media Matters “Not Opposed” to Unionizing. But all the article did was reinforce my original suspicion. Vice President Angelo Carusone said, “People have that right, so yea, of course they do. It’s a choice. What’s guided us the entire time is making sure the process is really clean.” If I had not yet made it out of preschool, I might accept that. But I have and so what I see is that Media Matters is doing what all companies do when faced with unionization: stall. They want time to organize themselves so they can kill the unionization effort.
It is possible that this move will be bad for the bottom line at Media Matters. But I doubt it. I suspect the rich people who give money to organizations like Media Matters are the same kind of New Democratic “liberals” who believe in individual rights and equity—as long as it doesn’t cost them any money.
Actually, the issue with unions isn’t usually about money. It is about power. Management does not want to give up any of the power that it has. Of course, when forced to, management quickly gets used to it. I suspect the managers at Media Matters are fighting this because it is an affront to their feelings of self-worth. I hope the workers don’t back down. But if they do, I understand. It is not a good time to be a worker in America—a fact of which I’m sure all the managers at Media Matters are aware.