Killing News in Motor City

Thomas Frank

From the A.F.L.-C.1.0.’s freelance political commercials to the romance of Union Summer, organized labor seems to have achieved a visibility unthinkable only a few years ago. If the passing attention of the media is any evidence, labor is most certainly back, breaking into the “what’s hot” columns of the nation’s Zeitgeist monitors and eliciting statements of hallucinatory fear from Bob Dole. But this doesn’t mean that the labor struggles of recent years have even begun to receive the journalistic consideration they deserve. Labor may be picturesque; labor may be authentic; labor may even be “hip,” as a recent Newsweek story put it; but the details of its protracted recent wars and its bitter defeats are things that most editors evidently feel we have no interest in reading about. This is true even when the labor story in question addresses most urgently the economic, cultural and political issues of the era.

November 25, 1996. The Nation.

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