Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fear and Loathing in Madison

When Governor Wisconsin Scott Walker pushed his bill stripping public sector unions of collective bargaining rights, he was unprepared for the political response. 14 Senators fled the state to prevent the state Senate from passing the bill over strong minority objections, supported by a mass demonstration around the Capital building in Madison. Protestors staged sit-ins in the Capital, staying for days on end.

On Monday, Walker ordered state troopers to close off the capital building in an attempt to starve out the protestors. Sadly for Walker, his actions alsolocked out one of Walker's supporters with the protestors.
Dozens of protesters, some shouting "Shame! Shame! Shame," chased Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, around the Capitol Tuesday evening as he banged in vain on closed windows and locked entrances trying to get in.
Opponents of a bill demonstrated their disapproval to one of the bill's supporters who was put in a bad position by the tactics of the Governor he supports. The biggest news story here is that Walker's tactics are causing problems for governance in Wisconsin, and possibly that the protestors have forced the government to insulate itself, becoming less effective in conspiring against the unions.

Right wing blogs, on the other hand, are pushing this story as some sort of terrorist attack on Sen. Grothman. Michelle Malkin calls the crowd "Unhinged." Hot Air claims that a Democratic Legislator "intervened to protect" Sen. Grothman "from the mob." Gateway Pundit insists that Grothman was "mobbed." Fire Andrea Mitchell calls the protestors "Union thugs."

This description of violence is a complete fabrication. These blogagandists would have benefitied from reading the second and third paragraphs of the original article, where Grothman acknowledges that the crowd was actually quite peaceful. He at no point feared for his safety. He at no point felt threatened. Even the editorial-style "cornered" language in the article is rejected by the alleged "victim" of the crowd:
Eventually the crowd, by then numbering close to 200, cornered him in front of the closed West Washington entrance, and Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, came to the rescue with a bullhorn.

Or "kind of" came to the rescue, Grothman said when contacted at his home in West Bend later that night. Grothman says Hulsey did help him escape the crowd but he was never that worried. "I really think if I had had to, I could have walked through the crowd and it would have been okay," he said.
If the liars and their parrots who injected a false violence into this story haven't already, they will allege outright assault by this so-called "mob." When they do, the refutation is right in the original story: Grothman, a reasonable person, did not find the protestors threatening in the least.

Despite the absolute absence of evidence of improper behavior on the part of the Wisconsin protestors (one Fox News reporter went so far as to make up being punched by one), the right winger noise machine is cranking out lots of copy drumming up fear of unions, demonstrators, and workers. This goes far beyond the normal Fox News agenda of inventing stories to discredit non-Republican stories and injecting Republican talking points. The pattern of fearmongering belies a much deeper fear of the masses. Michelle Malkin is not afraid of being punched by a union member; she is afraid that one of them will have a seat at the bargaining table or will be invited to participate on one of the Sunday talk shows. Those positions are for the priveleged, and workers don't deserve them. There is a deep and abiding fear among the blogagandists and Fox News reporters of democracy. Why else would the right wing constantly decry "union thugs" or "mobs"? There are more believalbe lines of attack.

The hatred of unions, workers, and collective bargaining rights flows logically from this fear of equal representation for workers. When Malkin describes the protestors as "unhinged," we see obvious denigration of reasonable fellow Americans.

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