Vox Goes On Strike

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

Related Post Roulette

112 Responses

  1. Dark Matter says:

    Issue seem to be “money”. https://www.thewrap.com/vox-media-staffers-walk-out-after-failure-to-reach-new-contract/

    Hmm… They unionized in Jan 2018 and the company let go 5% of the workforce in Feb 2018.

    Ave salary $69k. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Vox/Salary

    Not impressive by Washington, D.C. and New York City standards (nor: San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, and London). But $70k for a journalist seems like a lot.

    Google says Average salary for reporter/correspondent is $43,640.

    Monster says top jobs aren’t much better. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/top-10-jobs-for-journalism-grads

    This is seriously not my field but my 5 minutes of research suggest this is an overreach by the union. Having said that, every one of their writers could walk on water and I wouldn’t know.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

      The guy who ruined everything in 2016 speaks out:

      One of the things that they were (apparently) fighting against was Geographic Differentials.

      Apparently a person who wrote a story in NYC would get a different rate than someone who wrote the exact same story would have had they lived in Springfield, North Dakota. They’re fighting to make sure that you get the same check no matter where you live!

      Let me pull some numbers out of my butt for the sake of argument.

      Let’s say that someone who lives in NYC would get a check for $X for an in-depth article talking about, oh, let’s check the front page of Vox… Pig Ebola in China. The same article written by someone in Springfield, North Dakota would get $X-Y (because everything gets adjusted… NYC costs more than the median, Springfield costs less than the median… sure).

      This strikes me as likely to result in the average story getting an average check of an average of the two numbers. Not the guy in Springfield suddenly making NYC money. It’s that both of them would start making Pittsburg money.

      (Holy cow. Gitlab has an entire section dedicated to why they pay NYC people more than Springfield people on their compensation page.)Report

      • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

        the federal government has been doing pay differential (we call it locality pay) for decades. Its a percentage bump or decrease in base pay based on the cost of living in a particular area. So a GS-11 biologist in Boise gets less then a GS-11 biologist in San Fran or Seattle (or a bunch of other places). That part is fairly common across industries.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

        They’re fighting to make sure that you get the same check no matter where you live!

        They’re trying to do is make NY labor “competitive” to Pittsburg labor, i.e. make sure that management has no reason to prefer to give work to Pittsburg over NY.

        This strikes me as likely to result in… both of them would start making Pittsburg money.

        That’s the last step, not the first.
        The unintended effect is you’re now offering a HUGE raise if someone moves to Pittsburg.
        Some people do exactly that. They’re really happy with their wages.
        It’s easier to hire people in Pittsburg where they’re overpaying than in NY where they’re underpaying.
        (If they’re overpaying everyone then there’s huge pressure to keep wage increases flat).
        More people move or whatever.

        Big picture is this is a mess. The union is creating inefficiencies in the labor market and creating headaches for management(*) which this company’s non-unionized competitors don’t have. So the company is at a competitive disadvantage which over the long run will be a problem.

        (*) The rarest resource in the Universe is the attention of upper management.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Dark Matter says:

      However much they’re getting paid, it’s too much. Except Dylan Matthews. He’s all right.Report

  2. George Turner says:

    The comments on the union post are pretty good.

    “Hopefully they’ll use this hiatus to take some writing classes”

    “Good idea- do it right after graduation season when thousands of eager journalism grads just hit the job market… 🤡🤡🤡”Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    Are these valuable employees bargaining from a position of strength because their particular skill is rare and hard to find?

    Or is there a massive army of replacement workers, since what the Vox writers do is a skill which can easily be done by practically anybody?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      It all depends on who you have solidarity with.

      Do you identify more with the privileged Ivy-League educated writers at Vox who make 70K a year so they can live in the Bos/Wash corridor and write clickbait?

      Or do you identify more with the Compass Directional State journalism degree graduates who have a great deal of college debt and want jobs in the industry to pay those loans off and maybe start a family?Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        Why would my sense of solidarity have anything to do with their ability to win or lose a strike?

        My theory is that the highly educated white collar writers at Vox are symptomatic of the weak position of labor, of all labor, in our economy.

        They did everything right: studied hard, got the good degree, worked hard and yet, in the end, it doesn’t matter.

        Because there is (or at this moment appears to be) a massive army of equally capable replacement workers eager to offer their labor for less.

        These are stupid ditchdiggers or burger flippers; these are the knowledge workers, highly skilled and educated who supposedly are immune to the ravages of automation and displacement.

        I see this as the new norm, not an aberration.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Why would my sense of solidarity have anything to do with their ability to win or lose a strike?

          When Safeway went on strike back in the 90’s, consumers had a choice between crossing the picket line and shopping there or choosing to go to one of the other stores in town instead.

          If enough people crossed the picket line to shop, it would have caused the strike to fail.

          So, I suppose, it’s not just your sense of solidarity, but your actions in support of your sense of solidarity.

          With whom do you sympathize enough to support with your actions?Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

            I’m not sure where you are going with this.
            Honoring picket lines isn’t really the key to winning strikes. Consumers were always willing to buy coal or autos or newspapers regardless of whether the workers were on strike; the consumers who refused to cross picket lines were a minor irrelevancy.

            Strikes were won by workers having enough scarcity of their skills such that scab replacements were a poor substitute.

            I suspect that there really aren’t very many workers in any industry who can say that anymore.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              I didn’t say it was key. You asked: “Why would my sense of solidarity have anything to do with their ability to win or lose a strike?”

              If you, instead, wanted to know why your sense of solidarity would be key, I’ll answer that question.

              Oh, it totally wouldn’t. You’d have to be part of a large group of people acting in concert. Like voting or something. Even then, your participation would be so close to zero that your failure to participate wouldn’t even be noticed.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Strikes were won by workers having enough scarcity of their skills such that scab replacements were a poor substitute. I suspect that there really aren’t very many workers in any industry who can say that anymore.

              There are 3.6 million software developers in the US (Google). There were 1.3 open software jobs in the US in 2016 (USA Today).

              More generally we keep needing to adjust the definition of “full employment” because the previously-unemployable keep finding jobs.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I wonder what would happen if one day some code writers voted to unionize.

                Would we be treated to countless tweets about how there are a million people in India who could do that job?Report

              • It certainly gets talked about. Lots of problems starting with trying to define “code”. How complicated does the spreadsheet have to be before it counts?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Michael Cain says:

                How complicated does the spreadsheet have to be before it counts?

                Having pushed the extremes of that, I don’t think spreadsheet work should ever count.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I wonder what would happen if one day some code writers voted to unionize.

                How good would the union be paying SW twice what the average union guy gets?

                I’m not sure a union is flexible enough to get me a better deal than what I already got for myself and management isn’t currently abusive. For that matter when I worked for an abusive management I quit and hired on somewhere else for more money.

                Having said that, I would like to see my wife’s job (adjunct college teacher) unionized and I do think her management has earned the problems a union would bring.

                Would we be treated to countless tweets about how there are a million people in India who could do that job?

                More like 5 million. The guys I work with are great.

                Which doesn’t change that we have like 8 software positions open.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You don’t think you are universalizing your circumstances?

                I mean, I am in similar circumstances- great job, strong bargaining position etc.

                But I know it changes in a flash, and not everyone is in a place to turn on a dime.

                Because really, how long will it be until a “coder” is like “machinist”?Report

              • It’s still true that the best coders in a typical largeish shop are an order of magnitude better than the worst coders, measured by tested, documented, working code. Exceptions exist, but are usually a matter of management has chased the top-tier coders away.

                It’s still true that there’s a creative spark that matters. As a consultant told me on a flight more than 30 years ago, there will always be situations where the $50K per year programmer can solve your problem, but the two $25K per year programmers will never solve it. (The salaries involved tell you how long ago this was, but it’s still true.)

                The two Ds got filthy rich doing Game of Thrones. There’s a boat load of wanna-be show runners in Hollywood who would never have been able to pull it off.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Because really, how long will it be until a “coder” is like “machinist”?

                The number of unfilled SW jobs is going up, not down. Society’s need for SW is going up, not down. Moore’s law cranks in only one direction.

                The situations where this would change seem to either be really awful (nuclear war) or absurdly good (aliens give us tech).Report

              • How good would the union be paying SW twice what the average union guy gets?

                Think the Screen Actors Guild (I guess they’re SAG-AFTRA now.) There’s scale for someone who walks across the background; different scale for someone who has a line; and the stars of The Big Bang Theory bank $1M per episode.

                A Coders Guild will be more about setting minimums, working conditions, and requiring that you hire guild members than about limiting the income of the best talent.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I’m not sure we need a union as much as something like this that actually works.

                If a union would be able to pull that off, then I support a union. If a legislation would be able to pull that off, then I support legislation. If… well, let’s stop there for now.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          You really think Vox writers’ parents didn’t bribe the rowing or fencing coach to get them into a good school?Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Are these valuable employees bargaining from a position of strength because their particular skill is rare and hard to find?

      Journalism is one of the big losers from the internet and technology boom.

      Everyone has the ability to start a newspaper. Everyone has the ability to write articles. Everyone has the ability to print that newspaper with those articles. Everyone carries around a professional grade video camera. by the standards of yesterday. By the standards of yesterday, this site (OT) is darn close to a professional grade newspaper by some metrics.

      The amount of “printed paper” has increased by infinity, and it’s also absorbed multiple income streams from the newspapers. Craigslist has killed the classified. Linkedin, stackoverflow, and monster have replaced want ads.

      these are the knowledge workers, highly skilled and educated who supposedly are immune to the ravages of automation and displacement.

      No one is immune to “displacement”. The technologies I currently work on will die and be replaced by others. This may or may not make me change my job title (my expectation is “yes” within this year).

      They did everything right: studied hard, got the good degree, worked hard and yet, in the end, it doesn’t matter.

      No, journalism is not “a good degree”. The only reason we even pretend it’s a good degree is for historical reasons and because we have lots of journalism profs around who remember the glory days of yesteryear.

      However the pain of not running a newspaper should be somewhat alleviated by the fact that we’re at full employment, so there are jobs out there for them. That journalism degree is a signal of intelligence rather than a highly demanded skill, so I suggest they learn to code or whatever.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

        So the millions of out of work manufacturing workers, coal miners, lumberjacks, truck drivers, warehouse workers, cab dispatchers, burger flippers and now journalists all stampede into the coding field?

        Then what happens?

        Does any of this end with “then the middle class grows wealthier”?Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Does any of this end with “then the middle class grows wealthier”?

          It won’t “end” but yes, the middle class will growth wealthier when our productivity and GDP increase.

          On the other hand I doubt many people will notice. 10k coal miners losing their jobs is news, a million software engineers getting jobs isn’t. Similarly the entire middle class getting smartphones wasn’t news. Nor even the malaria mosquito being scheduled for extermination.

          The glass is always one quarter empty, even when the general “good” is obviously increasing.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

            So the next 40 years will play out like the past 40?

            Good times.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              So the next 40 years will play out like the past 40? Good times.

              Good is the right word. New technologies will be rolled out and widely adopted. Entire industries will be destroyed and we’ll wonder why they existed. Vast levels of economic growth will happen and be ignored.

              Now one advantage over the last 40 years is we’re not starting at the peak of the golden era for labor. Unwinding that was predictably painful but won’t need to be repeated.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Well which is it?

                Have the last 40 years been one of increasing prosperity, or a winding down of prosperity, a period of painful destruction?

                And if the postwar prosperity was an aberration, then doesn’t that suggest that our economy is fundamentally unable to sustain a large and prosperous middle class?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Have the last 40 years been one of increasing prosperity, or a winding down of prosperity, a period of painful destruction?

                Those aren’t either or choices, we did all of those.

                If your industry’s game plan included the idea that expensive union labor could compete just fine against overseas corpses and bombed out parking lots, then that was a problem after the late seventies.

                That doesn’t mean all those jobs went away, but what was fundamentally a $45k job had been historically been paid twice that and reverting back to the mean was painful and took decades. General prosperity and increasing efficiency increased how much this job would pay over the last 40 years if we exclude that artificially high base.

                Those industries’ issues didn’t prevent the rest of the market from creating millions of great paying jobs in other industries using other skill sets, so the middle class as a whole did better… and if we adjust for different family structures, different ways to measure inflation, and a general increase in technology it did great.

                …if the postwar prosperity was an aberration, then doesn’t that suggest that our economy is fundamentally unable to sustain a large and prosperous middle class?

                Our poor are better off than the kings of centuries past. Does that mean there were no rich people and no middle class back then?

                How about two centuries from now when their poor are better off than anyone currently alive, does that mean every single person currently alive now is poor?

                We have a large and prosperous middle class right this minute, things are getting better and will continue to get better. If you apply the absolute definitions of what it took to be in the middle class in the 1970’s to now, then we’re doing amazingly well.

                Alternatively it’s possible to monkey with the definitions of middle class so no one currently qualifies.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Doesn’t it seem strange to you that the prosperity you speak of isn’t obvious?

                That is, in order to convince people that we are prosperous, you need to do all sorts of charts & graphs and bullet pointed data columns, and even then, you need to adjust and bend them to accommodate all sorts of arbitrary qualifiers?

                By comparison, the people who lived through the previous rise in prosperity didn’t need to be told they were prosperous. They felt it, it was obvious to everyone.

                Shouldn’t all those charts and graphs of our prosperity somehow have an explanation for the national mood of pessimism and inchoate rage which propelled Trump to office?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Doesn’t it seem strange to you that the prosperity you speak of isn’t obvious?

                Considering we see this same effect on every issue? No, it’s not strange.

                Gun violence is going down, but from the hysteria you’d think it’s going up. Violent crime is going down, but until we ran out of money to build prisons you’d have thought it was going up. The police killing people has gone down but from BLM you’d think there was carnage in the streets. Pollution is going down but we hear about it going up. We’re at full employment and we’re terrified of immigrants taking jobs. We’re in the middle of a prosperous boom and we’re terrified of free trade. Abortions have decreased but you’d need to look that up to learn it.

                When it was obvious to everyone that they were better off we didn’t have a national “all news is local” 24 hour news cycle and the the comparisons in living memory were WW2 and the Great Depression.

                Prosperity and good news is boring. Media and various other jobs depend on outrage.

                propelled Trump to office?

                Trump was given 5 Billion dollars of free publicity.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    They’re back on.

    Report

  5. Aaron David says:

    Why do I get the feeling that this whole thing is staged?Report

    • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

      Because any other explanation is implausible. They’ve got a few people (Yglesias, Klein himself) with a track record of success. The rest are hack content generators with no future as professional writers and who could be replaced in days by English majors that graduated last month.Report

      • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

        Maybe I wasn’t clear. I get the feeling that the idea of VOX! employees unionizing is more of a publicity stunt on Klein’s part than a labor/management dispute. In other words, it’s a “look, unionizing is totes cool and the way to go (in an election year)!Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:

        That is a really unfair assessment of a lot of Vox writers. Dylan Matthews, Aja Romano, Sean Illing, Emily VanDer Woolf are all great writers.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    An interesting point:

    Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      Because the really important point here is the degree of moral righteousness among the bystanders, than the state of labor itself.

      And which occupations are LARPing of union workers, versus actually being union workers? Is there a list somewhere?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Earlier you asked: “Why would my sense of solidarity have anything to do with their ability to win or lose a strike?”

        The moral righteousness among the bystanders also provides an answer to your question. If those who stand-by have solidarity with the union, the odds increase that it’ll succeed. If those who stand-by do not, the odds that it will succeed will decrease.

        I imagine that fashionable unions with fashionable supporters will do better than unfashionable unions with unfashionable supporters… all other things being equal.

        (Of course, reality is what reality is and you can only get but so much blood from stones.)Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          She is setting up an opposition between Real Workers versus Unreal Workers, an opposition which exists only in her own mind.

          Which illustrates nicely why the appeals to populism are always such bullcrap.

          The boundary line which defines Real Workers from Unreal Workers aligns with her own tribal sympathies and nothing to do with who works or doesn’t.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            The boundary line which defines Real Workers from Unreal Workers aligns with her own tribal sympathies and nothing to do with who works or doesn’t.

            This is a great observation and I agree with it.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

              It does fold interestingly with the discussion in the “Citizens United” post, where “who gets to decide who’s a Real Journalist and who isn’t” was the whole reasoning of the Supreme Court.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      Libs? Really, Jaybird? At this point I am going to give very little wait to anyone using the phrase Libs because it is not meant as short-hand for Liberal but an obvious smear at the left.

      Anyway, I don’t think this tweet is true except in a feel fact way from someone who is never going to vote Democratic but would like to pretend they can theoretically be reached for maximum bad-faith trolling.

      I think liberals do have plenty of sympathy for workers in blue-collar or non-educated positions. The Marriot strike got a lot of sympathy from the left. So did the shop among Shop n’ Stop grocery workers. Both of which were very successful but the right-wing doesn’t like to call those working-class jobs because they are often performed by brown people. They aren’t manly enough. You can have sympathy for coal miners but still think that it is a toxic substance that wrecks environmental hazard. If I had my way, I’d institute a well-paying Green New Deal/CCC/WPA for coal regions and hire all the coal miners at good wages and benefits to do environmental clean-up.

      But somehow this is seen as anti-coal miner because a lot of people decided it is more important for them to get paid mining for coal because it is manly than getting well-paid to do something that isn’t manly and might even be less dangerous.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Give wait to whom you will. I still think that there is a point about Vox being fashionable that is interesting hidden despite her slur against the ideologically sinister.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

          She is not offering any evidence of her belief that people are supporting the Vox strike only because it is “fashionable.” The great thing about saying “You are only doing X because it is cool, fashionable, trendy, hip, virtue signalling, whatever” is that it cannt be disproven. It is a declarative statement.

          Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden went to show solidarity with the striking workers at Shop n’ Stop. Are all those people Art History majors from elite colleges? No. Did they tell those people to learn to code? No. Were they only supporting the strikers because it was fashionable? I don’t think so but the tweeter above might and the entire universe couldn’t convince her otherwise.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      Jaybird,

      Do you realize why this tweet is in bad-faith and why presenting it as an “interesting point” is also in bad faith?

      1. This is an anonymous tweet from someone calling him or herself comfortably smug. That doesn’t sound like someone who is willing to debate the merits of anything they want to present;

      2. The tweet offers no evidence that liberals are more sympathetic to Vox writers over Coalminers/Steelworkers. The tweet doesn’t even say why kind of sympathy coal miners or steel workers could get;

      Everything else I say below. This whole tweet is just designed to dig at Libs for the old inchoate belief that they are just out of touch elitists who hate “real America” which always seems to translate into white, male, heterosexual, ruralish, etc.

      By presenting this as “interesting point” you are just hiding behind a “I’m just asking questions” guise to through out some critiques.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        1. I am a fan of pseudonymity.
        2. It offers no evidence. Very true.

        That said, I remember, for example, during the run-up to the election, Hillary Clinton talking about all of the Coal Miners she was going to be putting out of work. (We discussed such things here, from time to time.)

        On Twitter, the general consensus was that Coal Miners needed to nut up and learn a new trade. (“Learn to code” was one of the things they were told that they needed to do.) This is something that I remember seeing. There were tons of degrees of sympathy offered among those who wanted the coal miners to get new jobs and, of course, the really memorable ones are the ones who said that they needed to find new jobs with relish rather than the ones who said it while wiping tears away. Such is the nature of noticing things, I suppose.

        Anyway, the Vox Union had a walkout yesterday and I will say that there was a difference in tone when it came to the amount of solidarity felt with the Vox writers.

        Now, noticing differences in tone? How do you even measure such a thing!

        Well, true. It’s qualifiable rather than quantifiable. But it’s something that I’ve noticed as well. Which is what makes it interesting to me.Report

        • J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

          @Jaybird

          That said, I remember, for example, during the run-up to the election, Hillary Clinton talking about all of the Coal Miners she was going to be putting out of work. (We discussed such things here, from time to time.)

          The coal miners were going to be put out to work not because Hillary didn’t like coal miners, but because coal mining is a dying industry. It is. I’m sorry about the coal miners’ future, but there will be less and less coal mined in the days ahead, and what gets mined will be mined with less and less miners.

          We can talk about giving miners (economic) alternatives, or we can talk about making mining great again.

          And then we can come back in ten years, and see what was (or could have been) more helpful to the actual miners and their familiesReport

          • Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

            The coal miners were going to be put out to work not because Hillary didn’t like coal miners, but because coal mining is a dying industry.

            This is true. Or, at least, I agree with it.

            Do I need to bother to bring up the quote of what Hillary said? (The little soundbite was not exactly “coal mining is a dying industry”.)Report

            • HRC regretted it to the point she devoted an entire chapter of “What Happened” to it.Report

              • Huh. I didn’t know that.

                I was still in a place where everybody (who was pro-Hillary, anyway) I had talked to explained to me that it wasn’t a mistake and people were taking her out of context and they weren’t being honest.

                It’s good to know that she realized that it was a mistake, even if her most ardent defenders don’t think it was.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Here is an example of what I’m talking about… and, yeah, reading Clinton’s take on it she manages to explain that whatever missteps she may have made, it was someone else’s fault that they took that moment and blew it all out of proportion.

                Those darn someone elses.Report

              • J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                it was someone else’s fault that they took that moment and blew it all out of proportion.

                Those darn someone elses.

                To the extent the conversation ceased to be about what real life actions could, or should, be taken, to alleviate the miners -and their communities- economic conditions, and replaced it with a conversation about how Hillary, and Democrats in general, despise miners, yes, that was someone else’s fault.

                The end result was that none of Hillary’s possible solutions was enacted, the mines continued to close, and the miners and their communities sinked ever more. If this is not Hilary’s fault, it is definitely someone else’s.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                A million years ago, we discussed “gotcha” moments.

                Dukakis, back when people remembered him, used to be a good example of the phenomenon. He was asked a question about the Death Penalty and he hemmed and hawed and tripped over his answer and people who supported Dukakis called it a “gotcha”.

                Hey! Look! There’s even an entry on the Wikipedia!

                “”Gotcha journalism” is a pejorative term used by media critics to describe interviewing methods that appear designed to entrap interviewees into making statements that are damaging or discreditable to their cause, character, integrity, or reputation.”

                That’s good as far as it goes… we talked about this back in 2011(!) and I’ll make this point again: a good politician would be able to take the moment and wrestle it to the ground. When Dukakis got asked about whether he’d want the Death Penalty for someone who killed his own wife, the answer that I said that he should have given was this:

                “Look, I’d want to kill the son of a bitch with my bare hands… but if after I choked the life out of the guy and I was standing over his body, they found out that, nope, it was someone else entirely and I had just choked out an innocent man, then what? It’s important that we have a process whereby we don’t kill innocent people just because of our emotional outrage and grief in response to heinous crimes!”

                Which, I think, is one hell of a good answer to a Gotcha question.

                The problem with Hillary was that SHE WASN’T IN A GOTCHA QUESTION SITUATION. This was not a trick question intended to entrap her.

                You remember when someone asked Sarah Palin about what she did on vacation and she started a word salad talking about Paul Revere?

                This is a lot closer to that than it is to the easy softball that got lobbed to Mike Dukakis back in 1988 that he turned into Gerald Ford falling down the stairs.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                So…HRC was a bad candidate because she wasn’t slick and evasive enough?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Did you see my answer to the Death Penalty question as slick or evasive?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                A Better Dukakis: Let me say that I deeply oppose the death penalty on philosophical grounds, but I would remind the warden, the guards, and all the other inmates that as governor, I do have the power to grant pardons, and I’d have their backs if anything happened to Kitty’s murderer.

                Like quite a few Northeastern candidates, he needed a dose of Teddy Roosevelt, John Wayne, or Chuck Norris. Something that say’s he’s a polished, well-healed gentleman, but one who shouldn’t be crossed.

                Also, it’s pretty weird that I still remember his wife’s first name. Maybe she was like Tipper Gore, known for something other than being a candidate’s spouse.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Your Dukakis analogy is more apt than you know.

                Because I remember plenty of liberals making exactly that nuanced statement…and how none of it mattered even to this day.

                Liberals Are Soft On Crime stems from the Civil Rights battles, and will not die because the truth of it has nothing to do with crime and never did.

                What would a nuanced Dukakian message re: coal mining have sounded like?

                Would Ms. Comfortably Smug approve of it?

                We know the answer to that, because the operative word in Liberals Don’t Care About [white] Workers is the one they don’t want to talk about.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I asked the question because I wanted to demonstrate that it was, in fact, *POSSIBLE* to have a good answer to that question.

                If you’re asking “Gotcha!” questions of the form “do you see a problem with advocating for the poor while living in a 2 million dollar house and driving luxury cars?”, then, yeah, that’s a B.S. question.

                If you’re being asked “what will you do for the people of flyover?” and you answer “we’re going to put a lot of them out of work, but don’t worry! We’ll retrain them!”, then, yes, you screwed up.

                And here’s the problem from where I’m sitting: if the leadership were able to say “holy crap, we effed that up good and hard!”, I’d have a small amount of faith in their ability to correct course and avoid that particular mistake next time.

                If they look at that and say “the media effed us! Effing media!”, I am *NOT* confident that they even know what the problem is to the point where I have no confidence that they’ll be able to avoid the problem if and *WHEN* it comes up again.

                Just something as simple as “yeah, that was a horrible moment and, were the tables reversed, we’d have run with that as hard and as far as we could” communicates not only “we shouldn’t have done that” but “we’ll try to not do something like that again”.

                As it is, I have no reason to believe that if The Eventual Nominee is caught saying something horrible on camera again, that they won’t blame everybody else on the planet again instead of recognizing that they made a mistake.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                No matter what response you craft for her, the right has a ready rejoinder:

                [Nuanced statement about retraining]: Liberals don’t understand Econ 101.

                [Embrace of free market principles]: Liberals don’t care about the poor;

                [Perfectly vague statement which says nothing of substance]: Hillary is, if anything, overprepared;

                Because the conversation is entirely in bad faith and dishonest; HRC represents the wrong tribe, and anything she says will be willed into whatever meaning fits that.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The fact that counter-arguments exist does not make having good arguments in the first place a bad idea.

                See it like this: There are arguments that only partisans would argue against.

                And there are arguments that pretty much everybody, including campaign managers, would argue against.

                Make the former.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Great, but what if the voters themselves are the partisans?

                I mean, doesn’t it strike you funny that the coal miners of West Virginia, displaced workers of the Rust Belt, and farmers of the Midwest, are so stubbornly resistant to casting a vote in their own economic interest?

                It would be trivially easy to find a liberal Democrat who would pound the table and vehemently demand massive government action to help them, right?

                And yet…they refuse to do that and enthusiastically vote for someone who they know is actively harming them economically.

                They were’t fooled into thinking Trump would really open the steel mills and coal mines; they know better than you and I what would be in their economic self interest.

                What explains this behavior?

                Once more- the fact that we are being treated to dozens of thinkpieces about how to recapture the [white] workers is the tipoff.

                There is a word here which the media is struggling desperately to avoid using.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Great, but what if the voters themselves are the partisans?

                At that point, I’d suggest abandoning the pretense that consent of the governed is important and bring back Cameralism.

                What explains this behavior?

                Tribalism.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “And yet…they refuse to do that and enthusiastically vote for someone who they know is actively harming them economically.”

                No.

                They “enthusiastically” vote for someone you think is “actively harming them economically.” They actually vote for someone who they feel actively supports them and their interests.Report

              • J_A in reply to Aaron David says:

                “…they feel actively supports them and their interests.”

                “They Feel” is doing a lot of work here.

                Not to go any further, is taking away their access to Medicaid, actually in their favor or their interest?

                There’s a list of actions, big and small, that this administration is embracing that actually against the best interests of the miners. Funnily enough, the Freedom Molecules (exports of LNG, mostly to Asia, to further displace coal fired plants) are as harmful to coal communities as the ACA repeal would have been.

                But, as long as they feel that coal will be made great again any time soon, it doesn’t matter that their actual situation gets worse by the week. It’s the feeling that counts.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                You sound like Republicans wondering why Black people don’t vote for them.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                There’s not a shred of evidence to support that.

                No Republican policy since the 1960s has economically benefited them in the least.

                They know this, they just have very different priorities than economic benefit.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                That’s what I was saying!Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                OK-
                I’m just trying to get it out in the open what that interest is.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No Republican policy since the 1960s has economically benefited them in the least.

                If we’re talking about coal miners….

                The Left is DEEPLY into the idea that global warming is a thing which does really bad things, sometimes claiming that it threatens all life on the planet. Part of the defined solution is the gov picking winners and (by implication) losers in the energy sector.

                Coal is one of the designated losers, HRC knows this and so do the miners.

                The miners also understand that if coal had the kind of support solar/wind does, then it’d be fine.

                It’s not a huge leap for coal miners to believe that HRC’s definition of “help” includes destroying their industry when she’s actively promising the GW people that she’s going to destroy their industry.

                Yes, there’s an argument that gas is killing the mines at the moment and the gov’s thumb on the scale probably doesn’t matter all that much… but that doesn’t change that the gov’s thumb is perceived to be on the scale.

                HRC trying to get coal miner votes should be seen as a hard task. Which is not to say she did a good job at it.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So…HRC was a bad candidate because she wasn’t slick and evasive enough?

                One of the things about politics is you’re supposed to know how to be evasive without setting fire to yourself.

                “[Obama] couldn’t understand what possessed Hillary to set up the private e-mail server, and her handling of the scandal — obfuscate, deny, and evade — amounted to political malpractice,” the authors wrote.

                Clinton’s actions, according to Parnes and Allen, reminded Obama of some of the “qualities” that helped him win the Democratic primary in 2008.https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/329258-obama-thought-clintons-handling-of-email-serve-was-political-malpractice

                This is the 2nd time HRC has lost what should have been an easy victory. The server, various other moves, at some point we should conclude HRC isn’t good at this and never has been.

                That btw is good news for Team Blue, it implies getting someone a lot better than HRC to go up against Trump won’t be that hard.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The theory of “HRC was uniquely bad” has no ability to explain the real world events over the past 10 years or so.

                As Jaybird is fond of reminding us, the Dems lost about 1000 offices after 2008; Were these 1000 “uniquely” bad candidates?

                How is it possible, in thousands of races across the country, in which HRC is nowhere on the ticket, so many people voted Republican?

                Do we see all these people now flocking back to the Dems, now that the dreaded HRC is gone?

                This myth about HRC is a comforting fairytale that allows both liberals and disaffected Republicans to imagine that, but for HRC, the Republicans would be a sane party, instead of the party of national socialism.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                As Jaybird is fond of reminding us, the Dems lost about 1000 offices after 2008; Were these 1000 “uniquely” bad candidates?

                2008 was the peak of the anti-Bush wave and the start of Obama in charge. Obama was elected with unrealistically high expectations, he didn’t come close to meeting them. So the oceans didn’t fall, world wide peace didn’t break out, and (most importantly) economic growth stayed slow.

                To their credit, American voters are willing to punish politicians for slow growth.

                Now I also think Obama wasn’t great for his party in general and this was largely invisible while he was in office, but I’m not sure how to measure the difference that and the general “2008 was a peak year” issue.

                Republicans to imagine that, but for HRC, the Republicans would be a sane party, instead of the party of national socialism.

                Trump’s current body count is zero, his number of ignored judges is zero, his number of arrested political opponents is zero, and his number of cronies appointed to judgeships is zero. If we’re going to measure him by Nazi accusations then he’ll look like the sane man in the room and stay in office.

                More generally I think there’s more evidence that Trump is uniquely terrible than HRC. I also think Trump is a one man band and when he leaves no one will even try to follow his act.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I didn’t say Nazi.

                I said the Republicans are the party of national socialism.

                If you want to quibble, the word “nationalism” would be more correctly spelled “White supremacy” but in common usage, they are pretty much synonymous.

                I mean, the tweet from Ms. Comfortably Smug which started this lays it out with clarity.

                The government must take command of the factors of production in order to deliver benefits to jobs held by white men.
                This is the central plank of the Trump/ Republican party base now.Report

              • J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                The problem with Hillary was that SHE WASN’T IN A GOTCHA QUESTION SITUATION. This was not a trick question intended to entrap her.

                We can all stipulate Hillary is a very bad candidate. Dead horse and all that. But she had a plan for the miners.

                If “someone else” cared about the miners, they could have said “Well, the idea of training the miners to code is stupid, and demeaning to their dignity. Our plan, instead, is to retrain them to build wind and solar power farms” (*)

                Instead, “someone else” run with the idea that Hillary, and all Democrats, hated the miners and their communities, and wanted them to die.

                The end result is that the miners didn’t learn to code, aren’t building windpower plants, and were within one vote in the Senate from losing the little health care they have (courtesy of those insulting people that wanted them to learn to code).

                Which, I guess, was the actual intention of someone else when they changed to conversation away from solutions for the miners, and started talking about dignity.

                So yes, someone else

                (*) A very manly, white working class job, actually – I’ve never seen a minority, and exceedingly few white women, involved in it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                We can all stipulate Hillary is a very bad candidate. Dead horse and all that.

                Good, let’s start there.

                Let’s say that there is another candidate out there with a plan. A plan that identical to Hillary’s plan (because it would be insulting to imply that there would be a plan that could possibly be better than Hillary’s plan).

                Is it important to be able to tell, before the fact, whether this candidate is likely to set him or herself on fire on camera in the middle of an important meeting with constituents?Report

              • J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                Let’s say that there is another candidate out there with a plan. A plan that identical to Hillary’s plan (because it would be insulting to imply that there would be a plan that could possibly be better than Hillary’s plan).

                @Jaybird, you win your alternate reality contest. Even the first whatever number of names in the Boston phone book would probably have sold the plan better than Hillary. And in your alternate reality West Virginia is now second only to Bangalore in GDP per capita attributable to software development.

                In real life West Virginia there was no second candidate pushing for the same plan, with added dignity (the second candidate could have phrased something around bitcoin mining, perhaps).

                There was the very insulting Hillary plan. And there was the “let’s not do anything except take away your Medicaid, so we can reduce taxes for the rich even more” plan.

                This subthread started on an accusation that liberals do not care for coal miners. Maybe even coal miners believe that. But coal miners believed that before Hillary (mis)spoke. They believe that because someone else has repeated it over and over again.

                Yes, Hillary’s delivery of the message didn’t help. But it was, it continuous to be, someone else who lies to the miners. They lie about the future of the mines, and they lie about who is trying to help.

                The what-ifs of Hillary’s delivery, the horrible 2016 campaign, and the potentially devastating 2020 campaign is a valid discussion. But, even if the miners aren’t aware, we, here, at OT, should discuss the real campaign, the real solutions, and the real lies.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                This subthread started on an accusation that liberals do not care for coal miners.

                I think that that doesn’t perfectly describe it. I’d more describe the accusation as being that liberals have sympathy for Voxelites and they don’t have them for the miners (who they told to learn to code).

                But, even if the miners aren’t aware, we, here, at OT, should discuss the real campaign, the real solutions, and the real lies.

                I submit: Being able to communicate sympathy is important enough that the inability of party leadership to tell that they were failing at this is reason to change things.

                And failure to change things is strong evidence that party leadership has poor judgment to the point where they can’t even tell that their judgment may have been poor after losing an election that surprised the ever-living crap out of them because they were certain that they would win it.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                I like my further comment that this would have been reported as “Dukakis, Asked About Death Penalty: ‘I’d Want To Do It Myself’ “Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

                And the Republican response to this would have been… what?

                “I can’t believe that they’re *BARBARIANS*”?
                “They’re pro-abortion *AND* pro-death penalty”?Report

    • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

      That twitter poster is gloriously ignorant of two key points. First,, those businesses are heavily unionized and when they have chosen to strike they have been openly and loudly supported by liberals. Second, the learn to code idea is all about coal and steel workers needing good paying jobs they can do without relocating – since few seem to want to move once they are laid off. I am sure they would rather get rehired in the mines or mills,, but when they can’t and aren’t and won’t be, then they need other work. I see nothing wrong with trying to offer them the tools the need to get that other work,, especially since their industries are not going to regrow no matter how many times the President shouts about it.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

        when they have chosen to strike they have been openly and loudly supported by liberals

        I couldn’t remember the last coal miner’s strike. I googled. It was, apparently, this one back in 1978 (though there was a copper miner’s strike in 1983).

        Was there a recent one that I was unable to find?Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

          There have been a couple of isolated walk outs at specific mines but not much since the mid 1990’s.

          Whats your point? Unionized miners decided not to strike to protest their conditions? Doesn’t mean liberals don’t support them, which is squarely the idea the twitter troll was trying to convey.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

            My point was that I was going to compare apples to apples and see if I could find what people who supported the Vox thing said and compare to the recent coal miner’s strike and do a handful of comparisons for us to look at.

            Without that, we’re stuck with their tweets about how miners who lose their jobs might need to learn to code.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

            If nobody gets killed, or even has their house shot up, is it really a strike?

            My dad’s boss and eleven of his bodyguards got slaughtered in a gauntlet the union set up on Cumberland Mountain. I”m not sure how he was supposed to give them a raise after he was dead, but then the Vox writers might not be thinking things through either.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      Don’t conservatives think creative destruction is the bestest thing ever, or is that only for workers who don’t vote Republican?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Depends on what the fashion is.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Don’t conservatives think creative destruction is the bestest thing ever…

        Unfortunately, no. The level of economic ignorance in both parties, especially with their bases, is close to total.

        Thus we have Trump’s tariffs being popular among the people it’s hurting and Free Trade being unpopular in general.

        Now your typical voter is willing to punish politicians for a lack of growth even if they don’t understand that’s the issue or how to create growth, so there’s that.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    Looks like they have a tentative agreement…

    Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Two Tweets.

    Tweet the first:

    Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Tweet the second:

      Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        So lets add journalism to Stuff That No One Should Expect To Make A Living At, together with manufacturing, steelmaking, lumber, coal mining, retail, clerical, trucking, taxi driving, food service..

        But I’m sure once everyone learns to code, things will look brighter. The Chinese will never be able to do that for cheaper!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Who is the implied “us” in “lets”?

          I mean, let’s say that I do *NOT* want to do that.

          What do I have to do instead?Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

            Beats the hell out of me.

            Because, seriously, I am not seeing any trade or industry which appears to be able to replace the middle class jobs which are disappearing.

            Maybe we will become a nation of 300 million coders, I just don’t know how that works.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Because, seriously, I am not seeing any trade or industry which appears to be able to replace the middle class jobs which are disappearing.

              Median household income is reaching new highs and we should expect to go higher yet.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The journalist who reported this fact to you, was he living in his car at the time?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                With a hundred million jobs, you can certainly pick ones which don’t pay well. The question is why should you when there are so many that do pay well.

                The underlying reality of the nation is that income is trending upwards, not downwards. Whether or not the middle class is growing depends on your yardstick, but even CNN is now admitting that it is growing even by their standards.

                And all that ignores the advance of technology which we really shouldn’t, and probably also uses the wrong measurement for inflation which we also shouldn’t, and doesn’t adjust for family mix which we should.

                Lots of good things are lined up for the next century, maybe even more so than the last which got distracted by world wars.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Part of the problem of journalism was that it was paid for by classified ads.

              Part of the problem with neojournalism is that it is paid for by hateclicks.

              Journalism was protected, monetarily, a good, long while by the fact that it held a monopoly on the printing press. (Compare to the USA following Europe and Japan’s destruction and Asia’s experimentation with not-real-Communism.)

              Now everybody has a press… including the people who make clickbait. “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative” doesn’t stand a chance in the new hellscape.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                Which does explain why people are so upset at Citizens United. It’s not about political advocacy, it’s about competition.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                As much as it sucks for “journalism”, it’s a good thing for everyone to have a printing press.

                Journalism is supposed to educate us about issues. However me being able to do a one minute search on google/wiki is superior over me reading every issue of the Economist and other mags and just trying to remember what I read a few years ago when the issue is discussed.

                In terms of exposing bad things to sunlight, BLM exists not because police violence is increasing but because our ability to measure/capture it has. One of the civil rights activists in the 60’s was beaten in front of a cameraman but the cameraman tried to help him rather than simply record it… and was taken to task later because since the camera didn’t capture it, it effectively didn’t exist.

                In terms of classified ads, what we have now is cheaper and searchable without me spending hours getting ink on my fingers.

                In terms of weather, as bad as the internet’s guy is, he’s still better than what the newspaper though yesterday.Report

  9. Jaybird says:

    Report