Labor Unions and the News Media

By Tom Bethell

Press criticism of labor unions — is such a thing possible?

Over the years, commentators have given much thought to the news media’s “liberal bias.” But one issue has been overlooked — press criticism of labor unions. That is because it is hard to spot something that doesn’t appear in print. The media just don’t publish criticism of unions (or they didn’t until very recently — and I shall come to that later). The main reason, I believe, is that newspaper reporters are themselves largely unionized. Their operating principle is solidarity: unionized workers don’t criticize other unionized workers. Which means they don’t criticize labor unions.

As unions are on the left in almost every respect, this issue alone could account for much of the liberal tilt of the news media. Yet it is rarely brought up.


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