MSNBC, Wash. Times echo GOP accusation that UAW killed bailout

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On-screen text at MSNBC and a Washington Times article and headline echoed the Republican accusation that the United Auto Workers union killed the $14 billion bailout for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. In fact, Senate Republicans refused to support legislation endorsed by the White House, a majority of members of the House and Senate, and the UAW.

On the December 12 edition of MSNBC Live, while anchor Andrea Mitchell interviewed Republican National Committee chairman Vin Weber, MSNBC aired the caption, "Union fails to agree to Republican demands for immediate wage cuts." Similarly, in the lead paragraph of a December 12 article headlined "Wage issue kills Big 3 deal in Senate; Union refuses GOP conditions," The Washington Times reported that "Senate leaders gave up Thursday night on a $14 billion automaker bailout, sunk by the refusal of the autoworkers union to agree to the concessions that Republicans had demanded as their price for support." In fact, as Media Matters for America noted, a $14 billion compromise bailout bill for GM, Ford, and Chrysler supported by the United Auto Workers and the White House passed the House of Representatives by a 237-170 vote. Then, in the words of Edmund L. Andrews and David M. Herszenhorn of The New York Times: "After Senate Republicans balked at supporting a $14 billion auto rescue plan approved by the House on Wednesday, negotiators worked late into Thursday evening to broker a deal, but deadlocked over Republican demands for steep cuts in pay and benefits by the United Automobile Workers union in 2009."

Cloture, which was opposed by a majority of Senate Republicans, failed in a 52-35 vote on December 11.

The MSNBC on-screen text and Washington Times headline and lead paragraph echoed the accusation by Republicans that the UAW killed the bailout bill, or as South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint is quoted as saying in The Washington Post, "It sounds like UAW blew up the deal."

Earlier in the day on MSNBC Live, anchor Tamron Hall also echoed this Republican accusation, stating that "The deal fell apart because the auto worker's union refused to give in to Republican demands to reduce workers' wages." But during a segment in the hour of MSNBC Live following the use of the chyron, Hall asserted: "This morning the leadership of the UAW, the union coming out and basically saying that this boiled down to people who are against Detroit and people who are against the union. So you've got the American people here and they're watching and they're concerned about themselves, they're concerned about the economy, and their neighbors, and they hear that 3 million people could lose their jobs, but the folks that we vote into office are using the union, trying to slap them and teach them a lesson." Hall then asked Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), "What do you say to people at home who are hearing those union leaders say, this has become about them and an anti-union sentiment in this country?"

From the 2 p.m. ET hour of the December 12 edition of MSNBC Live:

HALL: This morning, the leadership of the UAW -- the union coming out and basically saying that this boiled down to people who are against Detroit and people who are against the union. So you've got the American people here and they're watching and they're concerned about themselves, they're concerned about the economy and their neighbors, and they hear that 3 million people could lose their jobs, but the folks that we vote into office are using the union, trying to slap them and teach them a lesson.

What do you say to people at home who are hearing those union leaders say, this has become about them and an anti-union sentiment in this country?

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): Well, it's shocking. It's shocking, but [UAW] President [Ron] Gettelfinger, I believe, is absolutely correct in the end analysis, and it does not speak well of some in Congress. And the reality is that we put in process a short-term bridge loan, had to be repaid, and a process over 90 days to bring everybody to the table to agree to cuts and to restructure so this industry can be viable long-term. But we had a group of Senate Republicans who wanted the workers to negotiate with them first --

HALL: Right.

STABENOW: -- separately, before everybody else. And so, this goes back to the whole question of what's going on here.

HALL: Right.

STABENOW: Seven hundred billion for Wall Street; what about Main Street? What about the middle-class workers?

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
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