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Stupid lie of the week: Fox News people are hypocritical AFTRA members! Updated

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 25, 2011 01:02 PM

This moronic attack started percolating on the blogs and Twitter over the past week:

Fox News hosts and contributors including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, yours truly, and others are greedy, union-bashing hypocrites who are card-carrying members of AFTRA.

Here’s a typical rant:

“FOX talking heads are all card carrying union members. Funny, they don’t mention it. They are members of “The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.” Union representing professional actors, dancers, singers, and broadcasters. (AFTRA) Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin…….are members of AFTRA yet do not want teachers to have the right to collective bargaining?”

And here’s another:

Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox fools have been whipping up the fear, because liberal rallies are always bad things and full of terrorists and terrorist appeasers and verging on violence (as opposed to conservative rallies which are Patriotic and Free Speech and Constitutional and Freedom and Liberty and yada yada.)

Anyhoo, yesterday Beck told the protestors their unions “are anti-western way of life,” which is the kind of thing people like Beck say: it’s just an insult attached to a group they don’t like (Nazi, communist, terrorist, leech, etc. + liberals, Democrats, Muslims, the poor, etc.), then regurgitated without any thought whatsoever. It’s intellectually lazy, but it gets the job done, and frankly with their audience, no more is required. “This group = bad thing.” Whatever. It’s boring.

I just want someone to ask Beck one thing: aren’t you a member of a union? AFTRA? American Federation of Television And Radio Artists? The same AFTRA campaigning to save Public Broadcasting? Beck’s name is listed on the Los Angeles chapter’s June 2010 ballot under “newsperson.” Maybe there’s another newsperson named Glenn Beck, to which I have to say: dude, I feel sorry for you.

If Glenn Beck is a card-carrying AFTRA member, then he needs to either tear up his union card or STFU about how unions are anti-Western civilization.

I am not an AFTRA member and never have been in the decade I’ve been with Fox. Neither is Beck. And neither are many of the other FOX News personalities being accused of “hypocrisy” (another empty charge given that AFTRA is a private sector union that is not subsidized with taxpayer funds).

Nevertheless, the meme spread across Twitter and morphed from speculation to assertion. On February 17, I confronted one of the liars:

My request for correction was met with silence.

The little lie spread into a mainstream publication.

On Feb. 23, on the Naples News website, a blogger headlined his piece:

AFTRA: The Union that Glenn, Rush, Sean et al Belong to

Under the Naples News banner, Matthew Coppens claimed:

I called and wrote to the Naples News editors for a correction.

One editor snippily told me he had “studied media law” and that the paper had no legal responsibility for correcting the blogger’s false assertions.

Managing editor Eric Strachan also put the burden on me to get the falsehood-spreader to correct his falsehood:

Thanks for contacting us, Michelle. Know that we neither edit nor authorize that content as a blog host, but we will be happy to contact him through his e-mail to alert him of your concern. We’d suggest you do the same as well by clicking on the “He is That Guy” link under the headline of the blog and sending him a message through his Facebook account.

Regards,
ERIC STRACHAN
Managing Editor

This morning, my name was edited out of the post with no acknowledgment of the error:

I followed up with Strachan:

I see that my name was removed from Coppens’ post with no acknowledgment of the error.

You should know that Glenn Beck is also NOT an AFTRA member per his company executive, and I suspect that none of the others listed are, either.

Did Coppens verify if anyone on his list was an AFTRA member?

Do you feel any ethical responsibility to find out?

Best,
Michelle

So: Coppens’ post slimes Fox hosts and contributors based on a patently false premise:

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is a union representing professional actors, dancers, singers, and wait for it….. broadcasters. AFTRA is also a part of the AFL-CIO and like any good brother of the nations largest union, they monitor enforcement of prior contract’s negotiated, advocates on legislative and public policy issues that directly affect members’ wages and working conditions, and provides a great deal of members benefits, including “The Health Fund.”

A brief overview of “The Health Fund” from the AFTRA website essentially “provides comprehensive medical and hospital benefits, a dental plan, prescription drug program… and substance abuse programs,” to all union members. I am sure the egocentric Glenn Beck took advantage of that hospital benefit when he had to undergo surgery, just as Rush Limbaugh did for his addiction to popping that pain medication.

But even more disturbing is the fact that these people are essentially hurting their fellow brothers and sisters by speaking out against their struggle. Be it in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, union’s are fighting no longer to keep their pay checks, but to be able to keep their voice at the bargaining table.

What this certain sect of “broadcasters’,” is doing is nothing short of chilling. They are supporting these rogue Governors by not only limiting, but minimalizing the protesters freedom to petition their government for redress of their grievances. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The “Health Fund” that is set up by AFTRA, also provides for mental health counseling. I am sure some of those Fox “reporters” could take advantage of that… especially with all of their conspiracy theories swirling around.

He accuses the Right of “conspiracy theories” based on his own reliance on unverified, false Twitter theories.

The Naples News should be embarrassed.

It won’t be.

The progs should stop spreading dumb lies.

They won’t.

But now this little act of pants-on-fire desperation is on record.

Just doing the fact-checking PolitiFact won’t do for you.

***

Update: He’s going to have to publish a lot more retractions. What an embarrassment:

The second correction is pertaining to that of Michelle Malkin (A FoxNews entertainer,) and the post alleging she is a card-carrying union member like Rush Limbaugh is. Late last evening, I was contacted by the Managing editor of the Naples Daily News pertaining to this blog posting. He himself was contacted by none other that Michelle Malkin, herself. In the matter of expediency, he forwarded me the e-mail that she sent him. Below is the content that I received from Eric Strachan:

I am NOT a member of AFTRA. I am an independent contractor for Fox News and have never been a member of AFTRA in the nearly 10 years that I have served as a Fox News contributor.

Best,
Michelle


Michelle Malkin

So, with the weight of the world on my shoulders, I am publishing this redaction in that Michelle Malkin is not a member of the union that Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh are; she only “pal’s around” with them and agree’s with a super-majority of what her union buddies at FoxNews have to say every morning, afternoon and night.

With that being said, enjoy the weekend and don’t drink and drive!!!

***

Reader Brad adds:

According to Matthew Coppen’s blogsite, he claims many right leaning figures are members of the AFTRA. But the story is even better.

Matthew Coppen’s evidence for this comes from this PDF: http://www.aftra.com/documents/LA_2010_General_Election_Voting_Results.pdf

The PDF contains a list of votes for the AFTRA Los Angeles Local 2010 Board Election. Since names like “Glen Beck” and “Rush Limbaugh” appear on the list, he concludes they are members. He then also concludes that since some Fox News employees are on the list, then Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity must also be members, despite their names not even appearing in this list.

This list also contains the names of:
* Sleepy
* Dopey
* Sneezy
* Tomato (several times)
* Frank Sinatra
* Big Bird
* Middle class actors are becoming extinct with this division of egos
* For the future of all actors
* I.P. Freely,
* Harry Carey, Sr.
* Evil Kneivel.

Amazingly, Matthew Coppen wants us to believe all these individuals are memberms of AFTRA with a list containing names like that.

***

Update

This Alternet piece persists in claiming that all the Fox News personalities listed by Coppens are AFTRA members — which is a blatant falsehood. Neither Glenn Beck nor I are members. Most likely, none of the other Fox News contributors/frequent guests accused by the meme-spreaders — including Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin — are, either.

The left-wing website does quote an inside AFTRA source confirming that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly are AFTRA members. O’Reilly has said so on air, reportedly

As readers have noted below, New York is NOT a right to work state — and AFTRA has the power to compel forced dues. Moreover, as I already pointed out previously in this post, there is no hypocrisy inherent in a private-sector union member (compelled or not) criticizing the bloat and excess of a public sector union.

An interesting historical footnote regarding the late William F. Buckley’s fight with AFTRA:

As discussed in George C. Leef’s book “Free Choice for Workers: A History of the Right to Work Movement,” back in the 1960’s, Mr. Buckley, along with another nationally famous writer, M. Stanton Evans, took on the powerful American Federation of Television and Radio Artist (AFTRA). They went to court to refute AFTRA’s contention that you had to be a union member in order to speak your mind on television or radio.

It took seven years of litigation, but Mr. Buckley and Mr. Evans stood fast to their beliefs. With the able assistance of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, they succeeded in establishing the principle that formal union membership cannot be a prerequisite for expressing your views on the public airwaves.

“Learn something,” indeed.

Thank you Mr. Buckley.

(It should be noted that the Buckley vrs AFTRA case did not suppress AFTRA ability to compel dues or fees from employees.)

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