It's teacher hunting season!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Denounce NPR for Slanted Anti-Karen Lewis Story

Karen Lewis has been the union leader of the decade, as president, leading the Chicago Teachers Union on a new path of being a democratic union, made over from a bureaucratic bosses-dominated union, with an active, conscious rank and file.

Teachers union leaders can do well to emulate her in style and substance. Thousands of teachers across the nation are applauding her leadership, as she is a strong and eloquent voice against the education reformers [sic -actually deformers]. On web pages that have reported her comments or reprinted her speeches people have written comments such as God Bless Karen Lewis, or she deserves to be president of the American Federation of Teacher.

Thus it was quite disgusting to hear on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" reporter Claudio Sanchez starting a whispering campaign against her leadership, with one person questioning her effectiveness as a spokesperson. Huh??? Lewis is someone that is at once a thoughtful figure, scrutinizing the issues at stake in education today, the class dynamic at play in student performance, the commercializing machinations of education profiteers, yet she does so in an energetic, accessible manner.

So, where does he get off with his agenda-creating reportage? I have been impressed with his reportage in the past. But I will now be far more skeptical when listening to his reports, given his misrepresentative, selective, biased report on Karen Lewis' leadership. How many people did he or his staff speak with to come up with this agenda-setting closer to his story on the ending of the strike?

Call NPR and criticize this agenda-pushing report:
NPR Listener Care (202) 513-3232, Hours: 10am to 5 pm ET, Monday through Friday Or file an online complaint at this web page.

Here is the controversial closer to the story on "All Things Considered," tonight. Closing words set the tone for news articles or debates, so Sanchez is leaving listeners with a feeling that Lewis is a deficient leader.
SANCHEZ: When Lewis came on WBEZ Public Radio this morning to talk about the strike, teachers at Pierce Elementary hovered around an iPhone listening to the broadcast and Lewis' words carefully.

LEWIS: I think that people that really want to go back to work will be able to make the argument..

SANCHEZ: Bridget Fabianski says no matter how the union delegates vote this afternoon, its time for someone other than Lewis to speak for teachers.

BRIDGET FABIANSKI: She seems confrontational. Any parent that I've talked to says she's confrontational. But..

SANCHEZ: That's her nature.

FABIANSKI: Maybe that's her nature and she's the one who's going to get it done. Maybe it's a confrontational...

SANCHEZ: So this next phase might call for (unintelligible).

FABIANSKI: For a different spokesperson, for a different person to stand up and to represent us.

SANCHEZ: As union delegates gather to vote, Karen Lewis will once again be in the hot seat and have a chance to show whether she's the right leader at the right time.
Sanchez's story is disappointing reportage. I would expect labor-bashing reportage, reducing union stewardship to personality characterization from Fox News.

On the other hand, maybe he's just a national counterpart to WNYC's Brian Lehrer who has a questioning ear as an interview on many subjects, but uncritically echoes the deformer agenda, promoting charter schools. CHECKING BACK TO REALITY
As I wrote in an update to my last post, "Despite myths: Parents do support CTU strikers; School-day killings not up," an impressive crowd formed tonight as Lewis and the CTU announced the end of the strike:
Hundreds of parents stood by the Chicago Board of Education to support teachers, as the announcement was made that the Chicago Teachers Union was ending its strike of the Chicago Public Schools. This should put to rest the media and politician's arguments that parents did not support the striking teachers.
And I also indicated:
Chicago parents do support the strikers. This support is at higher levels in the African-American and Latino communities, communities representing 87 percent of Chicago's schoolchildren, and by more than 20 percentage points, the public blames [mayor] Rahm Emanuel and the school board more than they blame the Chicago Teachers Union for the strike.
It looks like Sanchez needs to do a better job reporting. When do we get a chance to give him a letter grade?

Then there's Audie Cornish, who introduced the piece. Daily Kos has a contribution from a few days ago, "NPR Audie Cornish - swings right," discussing her treatment of Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. Running errands here in VT, I had exactly the same reaction as you to Sanchez' whisper campaign. It was really dirty pool.

    thank you