Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sloppy journalism reveals Wisconsin's pro-worker values

State flag not "union emblem," but contains positive elements of labor traditions

Recently, the website Politico published a story regarding President Barack Obama's visit to the Badger state, and his support for the union presence here.

There's no doubt that Obama likely supports the progressive uprising, but the author of the article, Donovan Slack, had a different take on why exactly it was more evident on that day than any other:
It's very clear what side President Obama is on here in Wisconsin.

Behind the stage where he will speak today are two flags: an American one, as usual, and right alongside it — and a flag for the local union, Wisconsin 1848.
Here's the scene as Slack saw it, with both the U.S. flag and the "union" one next to it (in blue):

Yep, that "local union" flag is in fact...the state flag of Wisconsin.


Knowing the different state flags isn't basic knowledge (did you know Ohio's flag isn't even rectangular?!). But describing a flag you're unfamiliar with as being a "union" flag without researching that claim first is sloppy journalism, lazy at its very best and indicative of a hidden agenda at its worst.

Yet, even within this tragic neglect of basic researching standards, there lies some truth to Slack's claim: the two men in the flag represent a "yeoman" miner and a sea-farer of our state's waterways. Other symbols -- a pic-axe and a shovel, an arm swinging a hammer, a plowshare -- are also depicted.

Though some of the industries from the time the flag was adopted have waned considerably, the two workers' inclusion in our state's flag (as workers, mind you, not corporate owners) reflects a state rich in labor history, even if it was designed prior to many important labor battles yet to be won.

In trying to tie Obama to the labor movement in Wisconsin, Donovan Slack definitely...well, "slacked" in doing the proper research. Yet in doing so, Slack opened up a discussion into the state flag itself, including its contents and their relevance.


  1. While your on the union talks, tell me the pros&cons of Kathleen Falk signing a "pledge" with the big union bosses. Would it not totally handcuff her if elected? Is this just a way to get the gravy train back?? Please tell me why its a good idea for the citizens of wisco, thanks.

  2. Please tell me why you don't read my blog more...I addressed Falk's "pledge" already :-D scroll down the blog site, and you'll see I agree with you. Pledges of any kind are improper to take, unless they come in the form of a campaign pledge made voluntarily to the people.

  3. I read it often, must of just missed it thats all, I'm glad you agree.