In case you missed it in all the fiscal cliff blah-blah-blah this week, Michigan on Tuesday became the 24th Right-to-Work state, meaning union control of employees has been drastically scaled back. Given that it's Michigan, you can imagine this was a pretty big deal, given the historical importance of Detroit and the UAW and so on. If I weren't completely burned out right now from finals week and the end of the semester, I would get into the details of this legislation and what it means for unions and Michiganders (Michigandees?). But since I am, you're going to get a story that requires less research on my part.
Living up to their standards of calm and rational discourse, thousands of union activists descended on the state capital early this week to protest the bill, and of course by "protest" I mean "threw the mother of all temper tantrums and threatened violence if Republicans dared take away their entitlements." So did the Democratic lackeys who represent them, naturally. Inside the Capitol, one state rep said of the consequences of passing right-to-work, "There will be blood." (A follow-up statement from state Democratic leadership explained that the legislator was only talking about getting passionate and he didn't literally mean blood would be shed. I assume they settled on this excuse after deciding no one would believe he was just randomly noting the titles of Paul Thomas Anderson movies.) Of course, Jimmy Hoffa did follow up on CNN by saying of the fight over right-to-work, "We're going to have a civil war," so I guess the messaging hasn't quite been straightened out yet.
Happily, protestors outside were already fulfilling said prediction. Tuesday morning, the day the bill was passed, a tent set up by the conservative group Americans For Prosperity, was violently tore down by unionists, reportedly armed with knives. At about that time, commentator/comedian Steven Crowder, who you may know from occasional appearances on Red Eye or his contributions to Breitbart, was physically assaulted, by at least two different union guys, leaving cuts on the head and a broken tooth. To provide context for the link, Crowder produces videos like these on a regular basis, asking liberal protestors questions about why they're supporting or attacking X, which is what he was doing here before the AFP tent started to get torn up. The video jumps around a bit, but you can clearly see one guy at the end grab Crowder from behind and punch him before getting pulled away, shouting what are unmistakably death threats. From the pics Crowder posted after the fact, you can see how violent things got.
Oh, and this wasn't the only incident. In the course of destroying this tent and all, the protestors also smashed up the cart of a popular hot dog vendor whose sole crime was to cater for the AFP folks--and also to be black, which brought on shouts of "N***er" and "Uncle Tom."
No doubt some (or most) of you had already heard of this. But that's because you don't watch the network news or read the big-name papers, at least not exclusively. Needless to say, none of those guys mentioned this at all. Brian Williams started off NBC's Nightly News on Tuesday with (I'm paraphrasing): "For generations, unions have served as a gateway to the American dream. But now in their heartland, new legislation looks to change all that." With the poor little union guys cast in the light of victims (and really, who making $32/hour can't be considered victims?), there was no way stories like this would see the light of day. As usual, Fox News, talk radio, and the blogs were the only ones running with this.
Well, that's not entirely true. MSNBC's website did give the story of violence at the AFP tent some air--or at least, they reported a union member's claims that he saw an NRA guy tampering with the tent to make it look like union people destroyed it. So, same thing, basically.
As for Crowder personally, one Washington Post blogger did address his attack and asked, "Are the media ignoring thuggery?" Erik Wemple considered his own question and then ended with a thoughtful No. His explanation: Hey, the union guys probably shouldn't have attacked that right-winger, but he jumped up and down about it so much to get the media's attention, who can blame them for ignoring him? No, really. People "should take a second look at Crowder's actions....he's gone buffoonish since then." "Given how Crowder has carried on, I, too, may well pass on the story of his beating, were I a network executive producer." So, for those keeping score at home, a conservative who gets assaulted by leftists and then, seeing it going unreported by other leftists in the media, tries to raise enough of an alarm that it will be noticed, is "carrying on" and "buffoonish" and therefore below the media's notice.
You know, I changed my mind. Maybe I don't want the media covering stories like this.
P.S. In case you were worrying (and I know you were), the White House did weigh in on this. Jay "Twerp" Carney called the incidents a "civil" form of debate; as for the "There will be blood" line: "I haven't seen those comments, and I'm not sure they mean what someone interprets them to mean." Someone better tell Jimmy Hoffa.
P.P.S. I will be on the road most of the day tomorrow, so y'all will have to carry the conversation yourselves for a while. I'll do what I can.