It’s Time the Journal Sentinel Balance Biz Page WMC-Torinus Column With a Labor Column

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Among the many head-shaking claims made by conservatives is that of the “liberal” media bias.

As we know, the vast majority of American media: radio, TV, music, books, magazines, newspapers — is owned by six corporations. That number was 50 in 1983.

Basic common sense says the biggest corporations in the world use their media outlets to promote a pro-corporate, conservative economic message. For instance, ask yourself this: how many newspapers have a Business Section? Now, how many of those have a Labor Section?Exactly.

A great example of the corporate media bias is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel business section’s weekly inclusion on Sunday of John Tornius’s “Business Issues” column.

It’€™s like that guy in the movie ‘€œGo’€ who laments about how his reading the comics page will be inevitably ruined by the Family Circus, down in the right hand corner, “just waiting to suck.”

For anyone who gets to the business section, Tornius offers a 30-inch retread of whatever that week’s talking points from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce were. It may be just coincidental that Torinus is one of the members of WMC’s board of directors.

His WMC talking points rewrite of the week spans the full range of the WMC issues spectrum, meaning corporate tax cuts, less accountability for businesses and the impending apocalypse that reducing health care costs for Wisconsinites would create.

This week, Torinus checked off the WMC complaints of the state’s budget repair bill:

Closing the Las Vegas Loophole that costs us $75 million so businesses can dodge taxes through setting up shadow post boxes in states that don’t collect corporate taxes? Check.

Reducing capital gains giveaways that overwhelmingly benefit only the state’s wealthiest? Check.

Moving towards fair taxation to require those at top of the income bracket pay back a little of the huge windfall they’ve received the last eight years? Check. (Editorial note: Your income taxes will only go up if you are an individual earning over $225,000 a year or you are a married couple which earns more than $300,000 a year. If you make less than that — like almost all of us in the state, you will not pay more.)

Tornius’s column so closely hews to the WMC agenda that he holds back on criticizing the new hospital assessment to get the state millions of dollars in additional federal support. He says the solution isn’t the best one, but alas, is willing to go along with it. Funny, after initially opposing the assessment, WMC also came around to supporting it.

But back to my point: If the Journal Sentinel is going give Tornius and WMC a weekly paid advertisement, how about providing some tiny bit of balance and give a labor leader a weekly column.

Milwaukee is filled with terrific labor leaders who could provide terrific insight on the state of the economy and the needs of working families.

Stories on the business pages should focus on the news ‘€“ the only way to get the economy back on track is to invest in domestic job production such as infrastructure growth and green jobs that cannot be exported overseas by corporation and that the dwindling of real wages in the last generation has reduced the tax base necessary in order to finance the expanding needs of government from an expanding and aging population. This includes financing public education for our children and delivering the public services on which we all rely.

Again, we’€™ve had a generation of policies dedicated to the WMC-Tornius-conservative agenda of tax cuts for corporation, tax cuts for the wealthy, cutting wages, strangling education funding and reducing union membership.

The last eight years, we saw this expanded to an unprecedented and unchecked level during the disastrous Bush administration. And the result is the second Great Depression.

So why would we listen to another second of this failed message? Why do we have to read about this week after week?

Come to think of it, maybe it’€™s exhaustion with the corporate media’€™s endless pro-corporate message which is why there is the arguable prediction that American newspapers are within a few years of extinction.

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Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.