Yesterday, our local Sinclair Broadcasting affiliate, WTOV channel 9, broadcast this report by Jessica Haberley:
NEWS9 Special Assignment: Is the unemployment system promoting fraud?
(Sorry, I could not get the video to set-up for viewing. The summary and the video are on the WTOV website here.)
Haberly starts by interviewing Pete Basil of Basil's Sports Bar and Grille in Weirton. Basil tells us that two of his workers refused to return to work because they would make more collecting unemployment. The rest of the 2:39 report further reinforces the segment’s premise that those refusing to work are taking advantage of the system. For example, Haberley asks our local congressman, David McKinley, if the system is promoting fraud. McKinley answers “yes” and then explains that it wasn’t the intent of the legislation. The piece then features a clip of WV senator Joe Manchin saying that it is a deterrent to returning to work.
Haberly makes no attempt to present another point of view -- she doesn't interview any worker who has refused to return to work nor does she mention that there might be legitimate reasons why someone made that choice. Two such reasons quickly come to mind: the job puts me very close to customers or co-workers (it’s high-risk) and I or someone I live with is in a coronavirus high risk group. In both cases, I take the coronavirus risks.
Earlier today, the Associated Press printed a related article in which it noted how businesses were increasingly asking workers and customers to sign away their right to sue (not unlike Trump for his upcoming rally):
As businesses reopen across the U.S. after coronavirus shutdowns, many are requiring customers and workers to sign forms saying they won’t sue if they catch COVID-19.
Businesses fear they could be the target of litigation even if they adhere to safety precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials. But workers' rights groups say the forms force employees to sign away their rights should they get sick.
A picture of a business "open" sign accompanies the article with the following underneath it:
The waivers are particularly onerous for workers who may feel compelled to sign them in order to keep their jobs, unlike customers who at least have a choice to walk away.
Please note -- I understand that both sides can make legitimate points on this issue. My problem with WTOV is that they support only one side and provide no balance.
In other Sinclair Broadcasting news, CNN reported earlier today about the possibility that Sinclair commentator, Sebastian Gorka, might end up at up at Voice of America, our country's international broadcasting outlet:
A well-placed VOA employee said there are internal discussions about a sizable shakeup coming to the agency that may include former White House official and conservative radio host Sebastian Gorka taking on a leadership position. Given Gorka's partisan background, such an appointment would send a major message about VOA shifting to become a mouthpiece for the administration.
If that happens, they should probably change the name Voice of America to Ministry of Truth.