Monday, February 28, 2005

What's It Going to Take?

The propaganda campaign continues, but it has expanded its scope. Governor Schwarzenegger (R - CA, heard of him?) took a page out of the Bush-Orwell playbook and made a fake news segment of his own. Isn't that cute? Little brother copying Big Brother.

Using taxpayer money, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration has sent television stations statewide a mock news story extolling a proposal that would benefit political boosters in the business community by ending mandatory lunch breaks for many hourly workers.

The tape looks like a news report and is narrated by a former television reporter who now works for the state. But unlike an actual news report, it does not provide views critical of the proposed changes. Democrats have denounced it as propaganda. Snippets aired on as many as 18 stations earlier this month, the administration said.

The narrator says the proposal would permit workers to "eat when they are hungry, and not when the government tells them."
Well, isn’t that nice of them. Thank goodness someone finally stood up for that huge percentage of the population who don’t need to eat.
"I don't see it as propaganda," Millan said, adding that he is remaining fair and open-minded. "All I did was explain our intent and whether it is true we're trying to take away the right of the employee to have a meal period…. We're trying to allow the worker to eat or rest when they're hungry or tired."
See? The workers are clamoring to be allowed to just rest when they want to, not when they have to. In fact, every factory I’ve been in (I’ve actually been in a lot back in my engineering days – I’m not being an elitist snob), the employees were always complaining about all the stupid mandatory breaks they had to take. It was clear that if management’s hands weren’t tied down by labor laws, the workers could just kick it and crack a PBR whenever they asked. There certainly wouldn’t have been any pressure to work through their breaks or anything.
Rob Stutzman, Schwarzenegger's communications director, defended the so-called video news release, saying it is "just like any other press release, only it's on video."
A video played during the news, read by a former local news reporter.
On the tape, Millan says the new rule would ensure that employees have "the flexibility to determine whether or not they want to eat earlier or later, or skip lunch altogether in order to run personal errands and get off work earlier.”
So noble. So altruistic.
Singer called the video "partisan propaganda by the administration, which is supporting its friends and contributors in the business community."

Stephen Kepler, a lawyer representing Mimi's, said he was unaware that an executive appeared in the video. He said the chain is "not against employees taking breaks but are in favor of employees having the choice of when to take them."

Mimi's is a member of the California Restaurant Assn., which donated $21,000 to one of Schwarzenegger's campaign funds last year and provided food for his 2003 inauguration. The restaurant association, the California Chamber of Commerce and other major business groups are backing the Schwarzenegger proposal.
That would be the same Governor Schwarzenegger who promised to kick the special interests out of Sacramento. Well done, Arnold!

No comments: