The Labor Union that Runs the Media

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media


One of the major speakers at last week’s “New Populism” conference was Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a labor union which represents on-line writers, reporters, editorial assistants, editorial artists and correspondents at major news organizations.

Cohen gave his speech after returning from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) conference, where Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, was announced as winner of the title of “the world’s worst boss” for trying to keep prices low for consumers and opposing union control of his workplace.

Bezos, the new owner of The Washington Post, will have to negotiate with The Newspaper Guild, which merged with the CWA in 1995 and represents nearly 900 editorial and newsroom workers at the Post.

“Amazon has successfully fended off U.S. labor unions since its founding in 1994,” notes Time magazine.

Bezos has been described as a libertarian, but the Post was known as a liberal Democrat newspaper under its previous owners, the Grahams.

It will be interesting to see if he cuts this union down to size. The survival of the paper, with declining revenue and readers, may depend on it.

As the “populism” conference indicates, the progressives—once called liberals—are now calling themselves something else, in order to fool the electorate.

Don’t look for the media to blow the whistle on themselves.

Whatever they call themselves, they are in control of much of the news and editorial content of major news media organizations.

We look forward to the Post, under its new owner, telling the truth about how the CWA functions as a major component of the progressive movement, and how liberal bias is killing the appeal of the so-called mainstream media.

In addition to the Post, the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild represents employees at such news organizations as The Baltimore Sun and Bloomberg-BNA. Not surprisingly, CWA says thousands of its members also work for public broadcasting entities.

A partisan political operative who serves as a member of the Democratic National Committee and endorsed Obama in 2008, Cohen is a regular guest on the MSNBC cable channel.

Cohen’s tone last week was desperate, as the “progressives,” or “populists,” apparently understand that their President’s popularity is declining, and that their base is becoming increasingly demoralized and less likely to turn out to vote in November’s elections.

One member of the audience openly griped that she was being forced to liquidate her retirement fund in order to pay for her Obamacare plan.

The CWA’s “Education Department” has published a 38-page document entitled “Building a Movement for Economic & Democracy,” which describes in detail how various components of the progressive movement are said to make up more than 71 million people, enough to create a working majority of the voting population, and guarantee victory in national elections.

This might be news to the Republicans who think they will retain the House and take the Senate in this year’s national elections.

Holding up a copy of his “Building a Movement” booklet, Cohen told the “populism” conference that the political left needs to push a “common narrative” and “common collective action.” It is a message of “economic justice,” he said.

But it’s really more of the same Marxist agitation and propaganda about such issues as “inequality.”

“CWA is working to build a movement of progressive organizations to win progressive changes,” the CWA website says. “A founder of The Democracy Initiative, CWA works with labor and worker groups like Jobs with Justice, American Rights at Work, the AFL-CIO, and Change to Win, but also civil rights and consumer groups, such as the NAACP, Alliance for Justice, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Blue Green Alliance, and Common Cause.”

The endorsers of the Democracy Initiative are a who’s who of the political left.

One key to the group’s success is preventing the media, which they essentially control, from reporting on their plans.

But another factor is money.

CWA rails against “big money” in politics, but spends a lot of its members’ money on candidates for office through the CWA Political Action Fund.

Equally significant, Cohen is in bed politically with some of the “big money” he supposedly abhors.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon reports that Cohen is a “partner” of the Democracy Alliance, a group co-founded by billionaire hedge fund operator George Soros, that funnels money to various liberal groups. Lachlan Markay, of the Washington Free Beacon, said Democracy Alliance “partners” are individuals who every year must pay $30,000 in dues and contribute at least $200,000 to the groups that DA supports. Markay reports that George Kohl, senior director of the Communications Workers of America, is also a partner of the Democracy Alliance.

Members of the Democracy Alliance, including Soros, have helped finance influential national liberal groups such as Media Matters for America.

So the CWA, through its Newspaper Guild affiliate, produces much of the material we see in the media, while Media Matters puts pressure on those in the media who attempt to bolt the Democratic Party line. It’s a strategy of pressure from above and below.

Gara LaMarche, President of the Democracy Alliance, previously served as Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Soros-funded Open Society Foundations.

There’s no doubt that Soros, a convicted inside-trader, is calling the shots.

“Membership in the Alliance is by invitation-only,” the Democracy Alliance says. “We provide you [the big money liberal donor] with personalized products and services to help you navigate the progressive landscape and make the most of your philanthropy.”

But the “progressive landscape” also benefits from taxpayer dollars.

One of CWA’s coalition partners is CASA de Maryland, a taxpayer-funded entity described by writer Jim Simpson in an AIM special report as “the illegals’ ACORN.” On June 5, CASA de Maryland is hosting a “Justice Awards Night” fundraiser featuring Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO. The Master of Ceremonies is Erika Gonzalez, an anchor for NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.

“All proceeds from the event will benefit CASA’s services for immigrant families and its grassroots advocacy for social justice,” the group says.

Its CASA in Action affiliate claims more than 50,000 members and issues endorsements for political office, virtually all of them liberal Democrats. It is financially supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, agencies of the Maryland State Government, and private liberal funders such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundation.

It seems the left has its own sources of “big money.” But don’t look for the CWA to expose that in the media.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.


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