Through Jaundiced Eyes: How the Media View Organized Labor (Cornell International Industrial and)

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A ground-breaking study of the Hadrami community in Indonesia. The book considers the evolution of Indonesian Arab identity in the context of the rise of nationalism throughout Southeast Asia during the early twentieth century.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A dissection of media bias against organized labor that makes newspapers' Labor Day editorials about the decline of unions sound like good press. In a slow read that painstakingly details how newspapers, TV, movies, and even cartoons lampoon and trivialize the world of organized labor, Puette (Labor Education/Univ. of Hawaii) shows how the media distorted labor unrest in Hawaii and made a nonstory out of the United Mine Workers' strike against Pittson Industries in 1989-90. The fundamental issue in the Pittson strike was the company's attempt to roll back health-insurance protections for mine workers. That a strike centering on an issue of such national importance did not attract a great deal of media attention supports Puette's point that the media have a pronounced antiunion bias. But, unfortunately, this is the best the author accomplishes here. In individual chapters on each branch of the media, he simply chronicles abuses in the treatment of organized labor, and then tries to fit those abuses into a theoretical construct about how each medium works. Similarly, his chapter on organized labor's response to its treatment in the media contains more litany than analysis. What's missing here is some deeper examination of how it has come to pass that the vast majority of American workers have no connection to organized labor. Puette makes clear that the media's negative portrayal has contributed to this state of affairs, but he has little to say about labor's own contribution. (Illustrations throughout.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Puette, who teaches at the University of Hawaii, has produced a useful but thin survey, documenting a consistently negative depiction of labor unions in movies, television, cartoons and the press. Low public opinion of organized labor, he suggests, is linked not only to weakened unions but to this sagging portrayal. Puette finds the corrupt union image from On the Waterfront a pervasive influence and notes that most television dramas espouse the viewpoint of the employer or consumer, not of the worker. Newspapers, he writes, no longer dedicate resources to a labor beat; but Puette weakens his argument by focusing on the Hawaiian dailies' placement of labor stories next to crime stories--hardly industry practice. Puette deconstructs selected TV news reports and offers case studies, including one of the 1989 United Mine Workers' Pittston strike, in which the major media concentrated on strike violence to the exclusion of substantive questions. Puette concludes that the putative liberalism of America's media excludes support for labor; had he integrated that observation further into his study and explored the reasons for it, this book would have been richer. Illustrated.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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