Local media spent the BART strike attacking the workers exclusively
The shocking role of Bay Area media during the BART strike.
The purpose of the unions' actions at BART was to maintain wages and benefits in jobs that allow a family to live a healthy life — the iconic American dream. This humane goal, however, received only derision from the mainstream press. As if auditioning for spots on Fox News, media scribes worked hard to trivialize the legitimate demands of the workers, and engaged in obfuscation and exaggeration. Reading the papers' editorials, and all too often the hard news stories, one would think BART workers went on strike because they wanted paper pay stubs and did not want to be forced to use the Internet. It was sad to see some reporters whose families are adversely affected by the same economic trends that BART workers confront falling prey to the sin of envy in their writings.
A review of recent editorials, columns, and reporting from the mainstream outlets is eye-opening. The Mercury News, which often acts as if it's the house organ of super-wealthy Peninsula techsters, ran editorial after editorial against the workers. The workers' actions were dubbed "outrageous." And the short strike, the Chronicle opined, was the "most egregious and counterproductive overreach by unions." Chron editorial board director John Diaz even seemed to go so far as to blame the workers for worsening global warming.
Marie Antoinette had nothing on the columnists at the Chron. My favorite ridiculous lines came from Matier and Ross, who wrote that having a job at BART is like getting into Harvard. Huh? They wrote, "No matter how the BART strife is resolved, the odds of being hired as a train driver, station agent, or janitor at the transit agency will still be worse than getting into Harvard .... And, just like at Harvard, you qualify if you have a high school diploma." I wonder if these two fellows would tell a kid to take a job at BART instead of admission to Harvard. Given the choice I bet a BART worker would pick Harvard for his or her kid.