Using Manufacturing's Grief As Sleazy Political Fodder

A guy named Ohman drew an editorial cartoon mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans”, according to Texas governor Rick Perry.

He went on to say, “Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster."

Here is the cartoon:

Texas Plant Explosion

Perry is 100% correct. There is no excuse for using the tragedy in Texas as an opportunity to score shabby political points, and that is precisely what Ohman and the Sacramento Bee (the rag that published the 'cartoon') did. The editor of the Bee, an unabashed Republican critic named Stuart Leavenworth, said Ohman, "made a strong statement about Gov. Rick Perry's disregard for worker safety, and his attempts to market Texas a place where industries can thrive with few regulations."

The editor went on to say what Ohman “finds offensive is a governor who would gamble with the lives of families by not pushing for the strongest safety regulations”.

A pathetic rationalization for a classless bit of journalism. Had either of these guys bothered to look it up they would have found that, in 2011 (the most recent year for which OSHA has published data), Texas had 30.3 recordable injuries per 1,000 workers in Goods Producing Industries.

California had 33.7.

A manufacturing worker was 10% more likely to get hurt in a California plant than a Texas plant.

But then journalists these days don’t worry too much about letting facts get in the way of political opinion.

You can see the OSHA data for Texas here and for California here

And journalists don’t seem to have much respect or concern for manufacturing and its workers – especially the ones in fly-over states like Texas - viewing them as mere fodder for political games, hence the casual manner in which they heap insult on the grief of the people in West, Texas.

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