Winner of the Lowell Mellett Special Citation, 1993
How the Media View Organized Labor
by William J. Puette
Cornell's ILR Press, 1992 Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
Paper: $16.95 [ISBN 0-87546-185-9]
How fairly are unions portrayed by the media? Leaders of the labor movement have long contended that they are subjected to a negative bias. Yet in recent years, the media have been widely judged to be "liberal" in their treatment of political and social issues.
With a broad sweep and an accessible style, William Puette analyzes the portrayal of organized labor in movies, on television, and in newspapers, including cartoons. He considers in detail the national media's representation of the Pittston coal miners' strike and follows the accumulation of distortions in local coverage of a labor dispute in Hawai'i. He then suggests a theoretical framework for understanding typical media treatment of organized labor.
At a time when the media exert unprecedented influence on public attitudes and most Americans have no personal connections with organized labor, identifying systematic distortions is a necessary first step toward more balanced and accurate representation.
William J. Puette, a former business agent with the Hawai'i State Teachers Association and the author of The Hilo Masascre (1988) and A Reader's Guide to the Tale of Genji (1983). Since 1982, he has been teaching labor studies at the University of Hawai'i's Center for Labor Education and Research, where he is now the Director.
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