The Obama White House is finally attacking something. In this case, Fox News. That's a step in the right direction. Perhaps that's why, after the attack on Fox, President Obama called out on Saturday the health insurance industry's 11th hour "bogus" report. But these attacks might just lead to more Pyrrhic victories, such as Wall Street and banking reforms, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the drive-through New Orleans visit, the sub-text of the go-slow approach to rebuilding the 9th ward is all the white folk who think that the 9th ward should never be rebuilt, and health care reform itself, which is not likely to lose the health industry any money any time soon.
There has been a lot of talk over the last decade or so by concerned observers about the disparity between the rich and poor, how the top five percent more or less earn more than the lower 95%, how the gap between the educated and non-educated has widened, along with the stagnant wages of the middle class, the 50% drop out rate of a lot of high schools, the long, sorry litany, brought to us by (to pick one name) Ronald Reagan and his ilk ever sense he left the scene.
When the White House attacked Fox News it's hard to see that as anything but a diversion for all it doesn't attack. I have written quite a bit about Rupert Murdoch and Fox News over the years, but one thing that the current discussion doesn't touch upon is the purity of Murdoch's intentions. He has his media holdings do exactly what he wants, what he believes. When it is raised by Fox defenders and others that MSNBC is competing ideologically, with its "left-wing" commentators, one should remember MSNBC is owned by GE, which will only let its lefty commentators go so far. GE is not supporting the revolution, is not pure in the way Rupert Murdoch's Fox is. So, the lefty talkers are skating on the thin ice of what they can get away with, whereas Fox's people are the faithful doing the faith's good work. One must recall that the MS in MSNBC is for Microsoft.
In the Sunday South Bend Tribune an AP writer, Adam Geller, did a long story on the disastrous strike of the Vincent Bach instrument factory in Elkhart, Indiana, which began in 2006 and ended ignominiously this year with the union being decertified in a close vote. Strikes that go on more than a week or two usually end badly for unions. See it at http://southbendtribune.com. But of the many bad things that happened, the worse thing was in 1993 when two "investment bankers" bought the company. The precursor to the current economic debacle was the Reagan era phenomena of financial raiders buying up businesses, stripping out all the cash possible by selling this part and that, saddling them with debt and selling them to some parallel business when they were done feasting, hyena fashion.
Recently, on PBS's the NewsHour, Paul Solman used some tape from a longer, earlier visit to Elkhart to commend Bach company for spreading the pain at the plant, cutting hours of the decertified workers there, so as to prevent, supposedly further layoffs. Solman made it seem to be an example of enlightened management. It was sickening. Solman never referred to the three year plus strike and the strike breaking tactics of the company (Steinway now owns what's left of Bach) in his report. The last American strike I can recall the general public supporting was the UPS strike. Everyone liked getting packages from UPS. All the high school marching bands of South Bend, Mishawaka, and Elkhart should have given concerts in support of the Bach workers. Only public shame can move businesses. But, they didn't. Unions now seem superfluous to the larger public, just as they seem so to Paul Solman and the corporate interests than now bankroll what used to be public broadcasting. Again, it's the public options, Medicare and PBS, that have been privatized the last two decades, not the other way around. And why President Obama is unlikely to buck that trend in his "insurance" reform to come.