Outrage over TSA was stoked by anti-union rightist groups

I just reviewed the items I sent out and posted at the time, and found that, sure enough, one came from the sort of far-right source nailed by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine on AlterNet. (We took it down.) They’ve done us all a major democratic service by explaining how the right exploited that hot issue as a way to keep TSA workers from unionizing.

The other items on NFU—including one from the ACLU, one from the Guardian’s Jennifer Abel, and the appalling video of the mistreatment of breast-feeding mom Stacey Armato—all make necessary points against the invasive manhandling of air travellers, which is a feature not of “government” per se but of this government’s repressive “war on terror,” denial of a fair wage and proper training (i.e., union rights) to TSA employees, and, last but not least, Michael Chertoff’s opportunism and greed.

(Those dubious full-body scanners are his baby:

In any case, it’s always good to be reminded that smart propagandists know how to turn legitimate mass outrage to their own advantage.


Media Fell for Right-Wing PR in Orchestrated Outrage Against TSA Workers Who Were Seeking Union Rights

Published on AlterNet on April 28th, journalists Mark Ames and Yasha Levine provide a detailed, blow-by-blow deconstruction of how the right-wing spin machine was able to focus enormous media attention on the TSA, effectively scapegoating the 50,000 TSA workers who were simply following orders from their superiors. The media, as well as conservatives and liberals, got sucked into the hype.

The propaganda began with the Drudge Report’s hysterical portrayal of John Tyner, who refused a pat-down, telling TSA agents last November, “You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.” There were waves of right wing PR, many by individuals and groups for whom civil liberties were never a priority. Included in the array of anti-TSA campaigns was an “alliance of rabid Christian homophobes and neo-Confederates, warmongering neocons and notorious anti-union lobbying outfits, and even a few blasts-from-the-right-wing-past, like the Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead, a onetime Christian ‘reconstructionist’ who all but disappeared after running Paula Jones’ sexual-harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Whitehead, whose outfit once advocated the death penalty for homosexuals, recently re-emerged in the public eye, leading several high-profile lawsuits against the TSA.

The giant hype reached its hot-air filled moment when the media expected chaos and protests at the airports as travelers were headed out for their Thanksgiving weekends with their families. But what happened? Nothing. The hot air all came out of the hype, and with it the evidence was there to show that the media and the spectators had all been taken for another ride… but no one has reported it, until now.

Read more.

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