Built-in bias: Florida newsrooms show leftward lurch with unionization votes

by | Dec 17, 2019

Last week, the newsroom of the Miami Herald, that is, the reporters, photographers and other journalists, voted overwhelmingly to form One Herald Guild, a labor union that promises to “advocate for better conditions in their workplace and fight to protect their ability to produce award-winning journalism for years to come.”

The Miami Herald’s newsroom, which includes the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald and reporting staff at Miami.com, is easily the largest, but not the first Florida newsroom to unionize. Over the past five years, reporters at the Lakeland Ledger, Sarasota Herald Tribune, and the Florida Times Union have voted to unionize

According to published reports, newsroom employees pointed to concerns relating to layoffs under its corporate owner, McClatchy Company, as the reason behind the unionization push. The vote was held October 30th, and passed by an overwhelming 66-24 vote.

While the newsroom employees assuredly believe the move sends a strong message to the management of the Miami Herald, it also sends an exigent message about the worldview of the Miami Herald newsroom: those 66 pro-union reporters, we can assume, find themselves in solidarity with other unionized workforces, as well as in support of political candidates and public policy that is sympathetic to similarly-organized labor unions in other industries. Their fellow unionized workforces, such as the SEIU, AFL-CIO, Teamsters, and more, along with their ideologically-aligned political candidates, and the public policy they support with their voices and union dues, are all decidedly left-leaning, Democrat, liberal, progressive and/or outright socialist in nature.

But don’t take my word for it. Just follow the money: since 2010, labor unions in the United States have given $1.1 billion to left-leaning political organizations, which represents some 99 percent of all union monies donated to political causes.

Does this mean that all reporters at the Miami Herald are hopelessly biased liberals?  No. But using simple math one can deduce that close to two-thirds of their newsroom are, by default, sympathetic to left-leaning thinking and causes, based on the 66-24 pro-union vote.

The Herald’s own political bureau chief in Tallahassee, Mary Ellen Klas, was a vocal champion of unionization move. A video posted by One Herald Guild shows her and a small number of pro-union reporters in a staged video “cheering” the pro-union vote as they exit the federal building after the election results were official.

Klas did not respond to an email seeking comment on how One Herald Guild would handle political contributions from the union, if any are collected, nor how they planned to avoid potential conflicts of interest when reporting on policy matters or political candidates whose political positions could impact their organization.

 

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