Why It's So Harmful When FOX Echoes the GOP on Employee Free Choice

Reclaiming the frame on this legislative issue.

Fox is kicking off 2009 the only way it knows how, by continuing to serve as the GOP's mouthpiece.  That's just what Chris Wallace did yesterday on Fox News Sunday while pretending to hold a "fair and balanced" discussion about the Employee Free Choice Act with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. 

Wallace referred to the Employee Free Choice as "Big Labor's top priority," repeatedly dubbing it "union card check."  Wallace also continued to push the false notion that Employee Free Choice would do away with secret ballots.  Fox's overt use of Republican talking points to fearmonger about Employee Free Choice is certainly nothing new, but what happened on Fox News Sunday is alarming for two reasons.

First, Hoyer wasn't nearly clear enough in explaining that the Employee Free Choice will NOT deny anyone the right to a secret ballot; all the act does is give workers the alternative of forming a union by signing union cards.  I repeat, Employee Free Choice means just what its name implies: workers can either hold a secret ballot election or form a union if a majority of employees sign up for one.

Second, Hoyer's failure to articulate this point enables Fox and the Republicans to control the false frame, which suddenly gives credence to the GOP's otherwise ludicrous Save Our Secret Ballot initiative.  This movement, backed by Big Business, is attempting to amend state constitutions to "guarantee" the secret ballot under the guise of protecting workers' rights.  Consider it a preemptive shot across the bow of Employee Free Choice, which would be federal legislation once Congress passes it this spring (as Hoyer suggested).

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.
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