Union-Hating Fox News Backs Wildcat Action By Fringe Truckers

Union-Hating Fox News Backs Wildcat Action By Fringe Truckers

Teamsters Canada President Francois LaPorte

Fox News’ vocal support for the far-right trucker convoys in Canada, which began in opposition to vaccine mandates for operators crossing the U.S.-Canada border but has since expanded to oppose all public health measures, has revealed Fox’s hypocritical stances on vaccine and testing policies, as well as protesters who block roads.

But now another key angle has been exposed: While, in the past, Fox opposed advances by organized labor, demeaned unions, insulted striking workers, supported companies over unions, opposed higher wages for workers, and falsely blamed unions for supply chain troubles during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is now egging on this labor shutdown — which not only sabotages other workers, but was not authorized by any union or democratic process in the first place.

A key point here is that Fox has falsely represented the truck convoys as representing the wider views of truckers in Canada, as the network has tried to incite similar actions in the United States. In fact, a reported 90 percent of Canadian truckers are vaccinated, and since the beginning of convoy protest many spoken out against it and noted that it is not addressing “critically important” issues affecting the industry’s workers. Teamsters Canada has also opposed the convoys, leaving the minority of truckers to represent themselves. And since blockades began at sites such as the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, Michigan, the truckers who are still doing their jobs have been faced with arduous traffic at other routes.

Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, told CTV News about the toll that the blockades have taken on the truckers who are actually working. “They have no access to food for six to eight hours other than what's in their truck, [no] washrooms, they’re losing shifts, the mental stress,” Laskowski explained, further adding: “Most importantly … drivers are telling us their reputation as truck drivers are being hurt by these people who have nothing to do with our industry that are involved in this.”

Furthermore, the Ambassador Bridge blockade has led to shutdowns at auto plants, as assembly components have been stuck across the border. This event seemingly triggered an immediate reversal in Canada of conservative support of the convoys, with the federal Conservative Party leadership calling for all protesters in Ottawa to go home. Previously, the party’s federal caucus members had openly courted the Ottawa convoy’s support.

Doug Ford, the conservative premier of Ontario (an office similar to a U.S. governor), announced Friday that the province was declaring a state of emergency and imposing stiff penalties on blockade participants. These include up to $100,000 Canadian dollars (approximately $78,500 USD) in fines, prison sentences of up to one year, and possible revocation of personal and commercial driver’s licenses. [Editor's Note: The Ambassador Bridge was cleared by police over the weekend.]

But on Fox News, which has engaged in absurd and disproven demagoguery on supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this new supply chain crisis caused by anti-vaccine saboteurs is a cause for celebration.

Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson claimed last Thursday night that the blockade was “the single most successful human rights protest in a generation” — while at the same time boasting of the economic damage that the blockade has caused to other workers, forcing a shutdown of Ford and Toyota plants, and noting that “General Motors has canceled multiple shifts.”

Carlson then condemned the Biden administration for coordinating with the Canadian government on providing alternative traffic routes: “That's Scranton Joe, the pro-union guy, shutting down a labor action” — thus falsely equating the wildcat disruption with a real strike that would have been brought about by a democratically representative decision.

Later in the monologue, Carlson accused liberals of committing a betrayal of their usual support for “organized labor,” again falsely describing those truckers committing the blockades as “striking workers,” and claiming that liberals would soon “be demanding scabs” — disregarding the fact that other truckers have still been working and facing sabotage this whole time. Adding insult to injury, Carlson would seemingly brand them as “scabs,” despite the fact that they never had any chance to vote on any real labor action, and for which all evidence indicates it would have failed under a democratic procedure.

Then, promoting a further truck convoy in this country, Carlson said: “How does the supposedly pro-union White House feel about this? They're completely panicked.” (As for what any actual unions might think, the Teamsters in the U.S. had already put out a statement on Thursday condemning the blockades up north.)

On Friday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Will Cain offered this praise of the blockades: “I think this is the working class versus the elites. This is the common man versus the authoritarian. This is people standing up for individual freedom — not necessarily or specifically or exclusively against a vaccine or even a vaccine mandate. This is people tired of being lorded over. And what starts in Canada may soon make its way here to the United States.”

As Cain said that, however, the b-roll video playing was not one of the blockades, but of a traffic jam on the Blue Water Bridge, connecting Ontario to Port Huron, Michigan, which has been one of those alternate routes since the Ambassador Bridge was blocked off. The video did not show the truckers Fox has praised, but instead a great mass of trucks moving very slowly, and extending back as far as a helicopter camera could see — perhaps representing the true “working class” still struggling to make it through this manufactured crisis.

Then, in a truly comical moment later in the segment, co-host Brian Kilmeade declared that “it's time to sit down, Justin Trudeau, with the truckers, if you want to get your bridges back” — before immediately segueing to another edition of the network’s exaggerated narratives about crime: “Meanwhile, New York City business owners begging for help as the crime hits a decade high.”

And even Fox’s business side got in on the soft-on-crime, pro-sabotage line. Fox Business reporter Lauren Simonetti told host Stuart Varney that between the choice of all mandates ending, or all the trucks being removed so that trade could resume, “I don't see either one of those things happening, because they’re too extreme. Someone — both sides need to save face here.”

Maybe what is really “extreme” here is Fox News promoting an illegal, international economic disruption that has harmed workers across multiple industries, and which had no democratic mandate in the first place — and then for the network’s hosts to falsely claim that this represents an authentic expression by labor against oppressive forces.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

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