Continuing our occasional examination of how newspaper headlines are used to advance an editor or publisher’s political agenda…
On the front page of today’s Oregonian, topping an otherwise relatively balanced article about an upcoming unionization vote at Precision Castparts, is this doozy:
“Union time” alarms Precision
Most of the article is about the various reasons that workers at Precision Castparts have expressed for organizing a union drive, which even the company’s execs have partially recognized are valid:
This time, complaints center on forced overtime, arbitrary policy and benefits changes, and the tone-deaf communications that (subsidiary executive Kevin) Stein acknowledges.
The article also includes reporting on some of the union-busting tactics that Precision Castparts is using–including, notably, hiring The Burke Group, the notorious union-busting firm. Coincidentally (?), The Burke Group was also hired by Oregonian publisher N. Christian Anderson to bust up union efforts at his previous paper, The Orange County Register.
In selecting this particular headline, the editors at the Oregonian chose to highlight one small piece of the story (executives’ panic over the possibility that workers might be able to level the playing field), instead of what the story is actually about–workers fed up with conditions and trying to do something about it.
In doing so, the editors appear to be trying to advance the fear-based tactics that Precision Castparts executives are using.
Interestingly, the headline given to the online edition of this story is far more balanced–and far more reflective of the actual story: “Precision Castparts, workers prepare for landmark Machinists union vote this week.”