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How to purposefully misinterpret election results

by: Eric B.

Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 10:07:08 AM EST

So, last week and the week before that, most of the state's newspapers spoke out in unison against five of the six ballot proposals. We've noted here before that the Very Serious Person ballot on Election Day would be a yes vote on 1, no on everything else. The state constitution, altered in 2008 to enshrine stem cell research, was now a sacred, hands-off document for policy goals (there is a semblance of reasonableness to this, but just a semblance). At the Freep, they referred to a state of Michigan the morning after a successful vote for any combination of them as Michigan the Unmanageable. During the campaign, the ad campaign against it featured talk about drug-dealing teachers and constitutional amendments. One of them even prominently featured the wise words of the Detroit News editorial page to the effect of, "This isn't even about collective bargaining."


While Studley said it's up to the Legislature to decide whether to pursue Right-to-Work, he points out that labor tried to ban it before it was ever officially introduced, and he interprets Prop 2's defeat as a statement that voters want the Legislature to have the right to discuss the need for such laws.

That's the Chamber's CEO Rich Studley. The obvious answer is that, no, it is an incorrect interpretation of Tuesday's result that the voters want the Legislature to start talking about Right to Work. Why? Because the campaign against Proposal 2 never said anything about rejecting collective bargaining as a right. In fact, most of the people I know who voted against Proposal 2 think collective bargaining is a good idea.

I leave it off that these are the same people generally speaking who were certain that Romney was going to win.

Eric B. :: How to purposefully misinterpret election results
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Stephen Henderson
Let's see, Stephen Henderson has sided with Snyder, which brought us the pension tax and cuts to schools and local communities. Next, he sided with the Rich Studley's of the business community against Proposal 2 which will bring us right-to-work. Mr. Henderson, if you think your an ally of progressive ideas, please stop. You're killing us.  

I know he reads this stuff, so I'll try to be kind.  I've seen the guy on Off the Record, and he seems like a nice enough guy and earnest in his opinions, but I fear he's been infected with the modern journalism "Both sides do it" syndrome of false equivalencies.  Journalism schools have got to stop turning critical thinkers into Very Serious People who ride the middle even when the facts point elsewhere.

[ Parent ]
Publishers not j-schools
Journalism schools are not the problem.  Publishers are the problem.  There is, and has always been, tremendous pressure from the business side of media outlets to align with the chamber of commerce.  

[ Parent ]
Again, Henderson is earnest in his straddling of the middle.  This is not something his publishers have led him to; he was rewarded for his pre-existing habits and tendencies.  I guess that doesn't really conflict with your point, since they get to pick who they put up to this, but schools are also leading their students to this kind of writing so they can get jobs.

[ Parent ]
Good point
Publishers tend to find as editors people whose skill set includes advertiser empathy, although you wonder just how powerful that can be these days when auto dealer and grocery ads are no longer much of a revenue stream for news outlets.  

[ Parent ]
Henderson worships at the Broder school of political thought. I think he deliberately tries to play the centrist as his way of insulating the Freep editorial page from the attacks by conservatives based on its past liberal positions. Why he thinks this is going to work is beyond me. The wingers are still going to bash the Freep as liberal no matter how many times Henderson plays footsies with Snyder.

[ Parent ]

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