Fox's Wilson aired economist's attacks on EFCA without noting her study's industry funding

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Special Report, Brian Wilson stated of EFCA, "[O]ne economist warned of what would happen if the bill passed and met its predicted goal of growing unions by 5 to 10 percent," and then aired a video clip of Anne Layne-Farrar testifying to Congress: "This would result in an increase in the unemployment rate of around 1 and a half to 3 percentage points." Fox's on-screen graphic identified Layne-Farrar only as "Economist." At no point did Wilson note that Layne-Farrar's testimony was based on the results of a study conducted by Layne-Farrar and funded by industry groups that oppose EFCA.

On the March 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Brian Wilson stated of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), "[O]ne economist warned of what would happen if the bill passed and met its predicted goal of growing unions by 5 to 10 percent," and then aired a video clip of Anne Layne-Farrar stating during a Senate hearing that day, "This would result in an increase in the unemployment rate of around 1 and a half to 3 percentage points. These are sizable effects for the U.S. economy." Fox's on-screen graphic identified Layne-Farrar only as "Economist." At no point in the report did Wilson note that Layne-Farrar's testimony was based on the results of a study conducted by Layne-Farrar and funded by industry groups that oppose EFCA.

As Media Matters for America documented, earlier that day, Fox News hosted Republican strategist Danny Diaz, who criticized "Democrats and their union friends" for "pushing legislation like card check legislation" -- EFCA -- at the expense of the economy. However, at no point during the segment did Fox News disclose Diaz's affiliation with the Workforce Fairness Institute, which is "[c]urrently ... focused on educating the public on the damaging effects of the deceptively named 'Employee Free Choice Act' or 'card check.' "

According to a March 5 press release issued by the HR Policy Association announcing the results of Layne-Farrar's study, "Funding for the Study was provided by the Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs." The release further states that the alliance "is chaired by HR Policy Association and includes the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors, The International Council of Shopping Centers, the Real Estate Roundtable, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." The release concludes that "[t]he consequences of EFCA passage would affect the entire economy and would overwhelm any anticipated wage and benefit increases among the subset of workers that gain union status. The empirical results presented in the paper therefore recommend against passing EFCA."

Additionally, introducing the segment, anchor Bret Baier falsely claimed that EFCA would "take away the requirement for secret balloting from union elections," while Wilson similarly asserted that the bill "would allow organizers to form a union without a secret ballot." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, there is no "requirement" under current law that a secret ballot be held.

From the March 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BAIER: President Obama has made no secret of his support for what's being called "card check," a move to take away the requirement for secret balloting from union elections. It was the subject of intense discussion today on Capitol Hill. Correspondent Brian Wilson shows us what happened.

[begin video clip]

WILSON: The room was jammed with union workers, and at times it sounded more like a union rally than a congressional hearing, with one senator whipping up the rank and file.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We're working longer and longer hours. Our people are stressed out. Husbands barely see their wives, because they're both working. This is not what a great country is supposed to be. We can do a little bit better than that.

WILSON: Having spent millions to elect Democrats, unions want political payback with what they call the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would allow organizers to form a union without a secret ballot. Republicans and business interests oppose it.

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): It ought to be called the "Employee No Choice Act," because it takes away the secret ballot.

WILSON: There were actually groans from the audience, and the chairman had to step in.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA): I don't want to permit any hissing or booing or foot-stomping or throwing of things like that.

WILSON: When things settled down, pro-union witnesses argued in favor of the bill, insisting strong unions would bring a stronger middle class. But one economist warned of what would happen if the bill passed and met its predicted goal of growing unions by 5 to 10 percent.

LAYNE-FARRAR: This would result in an increase in the unemployment rate of around 1 and a half to 3 percentage points. These are sizable effects for the U.S. economy.

WILSON: Later in the day, Iowa Democratic senator Tom Harkin predicted Democrats will find the 60 votes needed to push the bill through the Senate.

HARKIN: By the time we bring it up, we'll have our 60 votes.

Posted In
Economy, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Brian Wilson, Bret Baier
Show/Publication
Special Report with Bret Baier
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