Responding to Wisconsin state workers' protests against Gov. Scott Walker's (R) proposed legislation that would strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights, right-wing media have characterized the protests as “riots” and “uprisings” and attacked the protesters as “thugs” who could “get violent.”
WI State Workers Protest Against Proposed Anti-Union Bill
WI Public Workers Rally Against Proposal That Would Strip Most Of Collective Bargaining Rights. The Wisconsin State Journal reported on February 17:
With a key committee vote out of the way, Republican leaders plan to soon pass a bill that would effectively strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers in Wisconsin, suggesting only modest changes to the proposal introduced by Gov. Scott Walker.
Key GOP lawmakers offered minor adjustments Wednesday night to the legislation, crafted during hours of closed-door meetings throughout the day, but those tweaks don't affect Walker's collective bargaining overhaul -- a sweeping plan that brought thousands of protesters to the state Capitol for three consecutive days of demonstrations.
Walker and Republicans said they would not alter their plans despite the thousands of protesters who continue to flood the state Capitol. The crowd only got louder Wednesday as some pounded drums, others played bagpipes, and many chanted, “Kill the bill” and, “Recall Walker now!”
Some protesters never left. Hundreds came with sleeping bags or blankets and spent Tuesday night in the Capitol rotunda while hoping to speak at a hearing about the bill. Public testimony stretched from 10 a.m. on Tuesday to about 3 a.m. Wednesday and beyond, with Democratic lawmakers listening to people through the morning. [Wisconsin State Journal, 2/17/11]
Right-Wing Media Label Protests “Riots,” Attack Protesters
Beck Characterizes Union Protests As “Riots” And “Uprisings.” On the February 16 edition of his radio show, Glenn Beck stated of union protests: “You are about to see this president start embracing the uprisings in this country. You are going to see him embrace the teachers unions and all of the unions that are marching on the streets.” Beck later characterized the protests as “riots in the streets.” [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 2/16/11]
Beck Cites WI Protests To Claim That “Evil [Is] Spreading Around The Globe.” On the February 16 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated that protests in Madison, WI, as well as in the Middle East and Mexico are part of “evil spreading around the globe.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/16/11]
Malkin: Protesters “Stormed” Capitol For Demonstration; Teachers Used Students As “Kiddie Human Shields.” In a February 16 post about protests in Wisconsin, Michelle Malkin wrote that the SEIU “and its allies stormed in for a sleepover protest” at the state Capitol building. She later wrote of teachers staging a protest: “Kiddie human shields become kiddie sacrificial lambs.” In a later post, Malkin called the protesters “union thugs.” [MichelleMalkin.com, 2/16/11, 2/16/11]
Malkin On Fox: Protesters Engaging In “Thuggery.” On February 17, Malkin took her attacks on the union protesters to Fox & Friends, stating, “If this brave Republican governor can stand up to the immense amount of power and thuggery, essentially, by these unions, it bodes very well for other states.” [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 2/17/11]
FBN's Byrnes: Protests Could “Borderline ... Get Violent.” On the February 16 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., Tracy Byrnes stated that protests in Wisconsin are “actually, borderline gonna get violent, it sounds like.” Byrnes later stated, “I for one hope they lose. I hope they lose. I hope they stick their ground and the unions lose in the end.” [Fox Business' Varney & Co., 2/16/11]
Obenshain: Wisconsin Teacher Protests Are “Reminiscent Of Greece.” On the February 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Republican strategist Kate Obenshain stated: “We see something that's going on, say, in Wisconsin, where they have the rallies for the teachers, where teachers are yanking kids out of the classrooms and calling in sick -- totally lying - which is reminiscent of Greece and England.” [Fox News' Hannity, 2/16/11]
RedState: “Leftist Union Bosses Also Know They May Be Losing Their Grip On Taxpayers' Throats And They Are Desperate To Keep It There.” A February 17 post on RedState discussed the union protests in Wisconsin, as well as others in Ohio and Indiana, and stated: “As labor activists strategize for 'class war,' Leftist union bosses also know they may be losing their grip on taxpayers' throats and they are desperate to keep it there. They're not going to let go easily either.” [RedState.com, 2/17/11]