You know what the great thing about a newspaper editorial is? They're usually unsigned. You can tell the most bold-faced lies in them and no one can point the finger. Maybe your friends will ask why your newspaper says such things and you can shrug it off. That's how what I call the "non-lies" of the New York Post get published. Nobody has to take responsibility -- a common theme of the last eight years.
If you look at yesterday's anti-worker editorial in the New York Post, you might be horrified by how the unions are taking advantage of General Motors. In fact, reading that those workers make twice as much as everyone else around them might, just might, distract from the alleged multi-billion Bernard Madoff fraud, the alleged multi-billion R. Allen Stanford fraud, the garden-variety multi-million stockbroker fraud or the general corruption on Wall Street because now we can blame the workers! Many politicians seem to be paradoxically happy about our auto-makers struggles because it gives them a chance to bash someone other than the politicians donors for a change and ohhhhhhhhh how they are relishing it.
Getting back to the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch and long recognized for their conservative bias, we find this gem in the aforementioned editorial:
The overall per-worker burden at the Big Three is upward of $70 an hour - compared to the $27.34 an hour earned by the average private-sector worker in the Upper Midwest states.
What? What?! WHAT???!!!
Those evil, socialist union members are earning well over twice what everyone else in the area are earning? I'm apoplectic (whatever that means)! That's robbery! That's greed. Sure, they're skilled workers doing a tough job, but over twice as much? How dare they? Poor, poor abused General Motors. How I feel sorry for them.
But you know, the author of that editorial doesn't seem to be a great writer. I mean, I'm hardly Faulkner myself, but I do know that when I want a greater impact on something, giving it a rhythm often helps it to stick in people's minds. So let's give that a shot.
Work outside GM, earn $27 an hour. Work inside GM, earn $70 an hour.
You see how that works? You see the greater impact the phrasing has? Now it could be that the cowardly anonymous author liked the stumbling choice of words "overall per-worker burden", but it could be that the cowardly anonymous author didn't want you to know that they were comparing "$70 and hour wage and benefits" to "$27.34 an hour wage".
That's right. To boost the anti-worker propaganda, they compared "wages and benefits" to "wages" and hope their loyal readers would be too stupid to notice (no comment). You see, the New York Post didn't quite lie to you. They just deliberately worded something poorly to hide the fact that they were lying to you. Or something like that.
As it turns out, the average hourly wage of GM workers is around $28 to $29 an hour.
In short, these skilled workers who support one of our core industries, the same workers who are getting excoriated by politicians and the media, are earning only one or two dollars more an hour than their next door neighbors.
Once again, I have to give full credit to New York Post for a masterful non-lie. It was well-crafted enough that Fox News is repeating it in hopes of furthering the lie. I don't wish to sound nationalist (which would sound even more weird since I'm an American in the UK), but I really wish Rupert Murdoch had stayed the heck out of my country.
1. I've linked to Google search results for GM workers wages instead of specific articles because if you care about this issue, it's worth reading a variety of viewpoints. It's actually far more complicated than any side seems to be interested in explaining.