UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

WLBZ goes for the gold. Drops the ball on community service.

Just because you are afraid doen’t mean you don’t have real enemies.
Duane Lugdon, International Representative, United Steelworkers Union is quick to spot the flaws in the arguments made by WLBZ.

This is a copy of his letter to the President and general manager of WLBZ TV out of Bangor. Ms. Horan seems to say that she would run attack ads against the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Cub Scouts, or any other organization as long as the money was good enough. It is my opinion that WLBZ has no interest in revealing the out of State money being used to attack Maine citizens as long as the station gets a cut.

Duane,
Thanks for doing your part to watch out for all of us.


Dear Ms. Horan,

I want to take the time to acknowledge your reply to me regarding the letter I sent to WLBZ (attached here again for your ease in recalling its content).

I generally pride myself in trying to be a diplomatic sort of individual but there is obviously no need to belabor or prolong this interaction between us. So let me be very candid.

Unions, regardless of how various interests view them, are fraternal organizations. We exist in no different way than your local Elks Club, Knights of Columbus, Eagles Club, Masonic Lodge or the Church that you attend. Regardless of the absolute lies and innuendo that are expressed by groups like “UnionFacts.com” no one is forced to be a member of Unions since it is both impossible under the law and inadvisable in practice to force membership upon anyone. No one is forced to be a member of Unions any more than the organizations I have cited herein.

Unions are allowed however to insist that people who work in the units that we represent and who benefit from the work that we do contribute to the cost of achieving those benefits. This is nothing that Unions owe an apology for because we absolutely do provide a tangible return for the cost involved in achieving the gains we make. Verifiable statistics support my assertions in this regard if WLBZ were at all interested in researching what the American Labor Movement has achieved for America’s workers and citizenry. But it is apparent from your response that WLBZ has no interest in researching the statistical truth and would rather insure that its advertising revenue is gleaned through any mechanism available to it.

Members of the public often attend functions put on by local fraternal or religious organizations, for example the local dance sponsored by the Elks Club or the public bean supper sponsored by the Knights of Columbus or the bake sale at the Church down the street – - in doing so they are not forced to be a member of the organization but they do pay a fee which helps to defray the cost of the service that they enjoy or the products they consume. They are not told that they must come to the dance, supper or bake sale if they prefer not to. Nor are they told that they cannot dance, eat or buy brownies at other establishments if that is what they choose to do. In this paragraph you have just read a descriptive of Unions and indeed my own ethic. As I stated in my letter I do not appreciate being attacked and I do not appreciate WLBZ being an accomplice to the attack on me.

While I appreciate the response you have made to me I must conclude that you were very astute at ignoring the point of my letter. The “UnionFacts.com” spot which you call a “political issue spot” is an ATTACK spot!! Is WLBZ making the point that if an organization existed that wanted to attack the Knights of Columbus, the Elks club or the Church in the community that you would honor the airing of those kinds of attacks? No – - I hardly believe that to be the case. So let me again be very candid – - what I discern from your response is that WLBZ does not care that advertising be truthful – - just that it generates income for WLBZ. You will be quick to have me expend the resources of my organization so that I can buy your airtime to respond to the venomous ATTACKS because doing so would benefit WLBZ.

I must tell you that the sort of mentality in your response to me makes WLBZ nothing more than an accomplice in an attempt to slay the fraternal organizations we all know as “Unions”. It makes WLBZ available, in much the same way as a prostitute, to anyone who wants to pay for your services. The only difference is that, unlike WLBZ, the prostitute isn’t a party to attacking the personal character or integrity of people who are innocent of any crime. I am thus forced to conclude that WLBZ is now my proverbial enemy as opposed to the trusted media outlet that I have perceived it to be for many years. Like the “UnionFacts.com” breed of attack dog WLBZ is now party to attacking me and the members of fraternal organizations because of our beliefs and what we stand for. WLBZ cannot look in a mirror and see innocence in the constant struggle of Maine or American workers to advance their cause. WLBZ is an ADVOCATE in seeking the demise of Unions in America.

I regret the position that WLBZ has taken because it goes a long distance toward establishing that WLBZ is not worthy of the high esteem I have placed in its position in our community over the years. I don’t want to be seen as engaging in banter with you so I will now disengage from further discourse on the matter. But I am sure that you will hear from others on this matter. I only hope that WLBZ will once again return to the kind of responsible media outlet that I once thought it to be and end the attacks on the character and integrity of myself and thousands of my Brothers and Sisters.

Sincerely,

Duane Lugdon

International Representative

United Steelworkers International Union

From: Horan, Judy [mailto:JHORAN@wlbz.gannett.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:33 AM
To: Lugdon, Duane F.
Cc: File2, Pub
Subject: Response regarding commercials

Dear Duane:

Thank you for contacting WLBZ 2 regarding the advertisement currently airing from “The Center for Union Facts.” We always appreciate hearing from our viewers. Your email with letter attachment was forwarded to me by two of our staff.

Television is the “public square” where disparate opinions are aired literally and figuratively. Proponents of this issue know the power of the television medium to convey their message. As a company that benefits from First Amendment freedoms, we are reluctant to censor content and do so only on rare occasions. That means that some advertising messages aired on WLBZ 2 are not those supported by the station or its management. You write in your letter that Maine “… is a place where we honor each other’s right to freedom and liberty.” I agree with you, which is why these spots are airing. Defense of free speech is not dependent on whether or not I agree with the its content.

You should know that each political “issue” spot, like the one you wrote about, is reviewed before it airs. We also respond to viewers who disagree with the content or the fact that we aired it at all, as this email proves. This particular ad can be seen on various stations here in the Bangor marketplace as well. Finally, should the opposing side decide to place advertisements on our station, chances are good those ads would not be censored either – for the same reasons mentioned above.

Regardless of the point of view from which a commercial is produced, “issue” spots frequently prompt comment. We respect your opinion and thank you for sharing it.

Judy Horan
President and General Manager
WLBZ 2
329 Mt. Hope Ave.
Bangor ME 04401
(207)991-5311
jhoran@wlbz.gannett.com

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June 3rd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

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