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Pilkington writes: "A nationwide network of rightwing thinktanks is launching a PR counteroffensive against the teachers' strikes that are sweeping the country, circulating a 'messaging guide' for anti-union activists that portrays the walkouts as harmful to low-income parents and their children."

Thousands of teachers from across Kentucky fill the state Capitol to rally for increased funding and to protest last-minute changes to their state-funded pension system on Monday in Frankfort. (photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP)
Thousands of teachers from across Kentucky fill the state Capitol to rally for increased funding and to protest last-minute changes to their state-funded pension system on Monday in Frankfort. (photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP)


Revealed: Secret Rightwing Strategy to Discredit Teacher Strikes

By Ed Pilkington, Guardian UK

14 April 18


Manual provides ‘dos and don’ts’ for how to smear the strikes

nationwide network of rightwing thinktanks is launching a PR counteroffensive against the teachers’ strikes that are sweeping the country, circulating a “messaging guide” for anti-union activists that portrays the walkouts as harmful to low-income parents and their children.

The new rightwing strategy to discredit the strikes that have erupted in protest against cuts in education funding and poor teacher pay is contained in a three-page document obtained by the Guardian. Titled “How to talk about teacher strikes”, it provides a “dos and don’ts” manual for how to smear the strikers.

Top of the list of talking points is the claim that “teacher strikes hurt kids and low-income families”. It advises anti-union campaigners to argue that “it’s unfortunate that teachers are protesting low wages by punishing other low-wage parents and their children.”

The “messaging guide” is the brainchild of the State Policy Network (SPN), an alliance of 66 rightwing “ideas factories” that span every state in the nation. SPN uses its $80m war chest – funded by billionaire super-donors such as the Koch brothers and the Walton Family Foundation that flows from the Walmart fortune – to coordinate conservative strategy across the country.

Another financial backer of SPN is the billionaire DeVos family of the Amway empire. Betsy DeVos is the current education secretary in the Trump administration.

SPN’s previous campaigns have included a plan to “defund and defang” public sector unions. Now it is turning its firepower on the striking teachers.

Teacher strikes have been spreading across the US following the example of West Virginia where a rebellion in February closed state schools for nine days but ended in victory for the teachers with a 5% pay rise. Wildcat actions have erupted in turn this month in Oklahoma and Kentucky in protest at what many teachers say are unlivable wages and savage Republican cuts to education budgets at the same time as they are cutting taxes.

A similar walkout is expected any day in Arizona.

The SPN document urges its followers to attack the walkouts stealthily, rather than criticising them directly. A head-on assault on teachers for their long summer vacations would “sound tone-deaf when there are dozens of videos and social media posts going viral from teachers about their second jobs [and] having to rely on food pantries”, it says.

The guide, written by SPN senior policy advisers, is revealingly candid about the difficult position that conservatives find themselves in within states that have aggressively cut taxes at the same time as slashing education budgets. “For those of you who are in states where you’ve cut taxes recently, that is sure to be a theme in coverage. That is obviously a challenging message to counter.”

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, told the Guardian: “It’s fascinating that even Koch-funded conservatives recognize that there’s huge public support for public education and for treating teachers with respect.” She denounced SPN’s guide as a “piece of propaganda – the conservative strategy is to defund schools and delegitimize the voice of teachers”.

SPN’s talking points advise rightwing activists to emphasise the damage done to “good” teachers by the strikes instead of trying to justify low pay for all teachers. Similarly, attacking teachers for asking for more funding for schools would not be a winning argument, so SPN urges its followers to emphasise instead “red tape and bureaucracy”.

“In most states, administrators and other non-teaching staff vastly outnumber teachers,” the guide says. Then it adds, in capital letters and within parentheses: “[INSERT STAT ON ADMINISTRATIVE BLOAT FROM YOUR STATE].”


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Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+3 # LionMousePudding 2018-04-14 10:36
It's a losing game, Right Wingers. These teachers are not going to stand down.
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2018-04-14 14:24
Revealed: Secret Rightwing Strategy to Discredit Teacher Strikes, 14 April 18

we are all "played" - trick is to identify our interests, so as to escape the bonds of disinformative propaganda - in our quest, access to information beyond opinion is essential

as we speak sinclear, faux news and radio bimbos are hammering uneducated, poor, white, evangelical, dickhead voters with opinion described here

"The “messaging guide” is the brainchild of the State Policy Network (SPN), an alliance of 66 rightwing “ideas factories” that span every state in the nation. SPN uses its $80m war chest – funded by billionaire super-donors such as the Koch brothers and the Walton Family Foundation that flows from the Walmart fortune – to coordinate conservative strategy across the country.

"Another financial backer of SPN is the billionaire DeVos family of the Amway empire. Betsy DeVos is the current education secretary in the Trump administration."

- next time someone tells you dems are not progressives, or, at least, not "true" progressives? or dems are exactly the same as repukes? ask yourself who is playing me? and why?

whether those playing us are repukes or not, note that their opinion in these respects are exactly what the rightwing wants us to hear!
 
 
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-04-14 14:40
Nothing in SPN, of course, about the costs of starving education....
 
 
+1 # laborequalswealth 2018-04-15 12:38
The plutocracy's main means of control is to ignore and exclude. It doesn't matter what the answers are as long you don't let people ask the right questions.
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2018-04-14 15:21
what goes on is great theatre? pass the popcorn?

anything to win dickhead and putin ardent followers among their bases? - for dickhead that means taking our minds off dem plans for mid-term elections? if any, to sabotage repuke tax cuts for bmillionaires?

when repuke congress cuts taxes for bm’s they don’t go out and buy a 2nd yacht? they campaign congress to protect them from any of their wealth “trickling down” to workers! - i ask you? are massive tax cuts for bm’s fair to workers? haven’t we carried bm’s on our backs long enough? can 100% of our wealth satisfy them?

last year when congress taxed corporations a mythical “35%” it was a tax code they had shot so thru-and-thru with loopholes, subsidies, purely inventive oil-depletion allowances and WELFARE that the AVERAGE EFFECTIVE TAX RATE WAS 12.5% - now that repuke congress taxes corporations a mythical “21%” with all the old loopholes, pus new ones they added, the AVERAGE EFFECTIVE TAX RATE MUST BE LESS THAN 7% - i ask you? are massive loopholes for corporations fair to workers? haven’t we carried corporations on our backs long enough? can 100% of our wealth satisfy them?

someday! when we all stop collectively holding our breaths? dems need A PLAN to counter repuke tax cuts? than to present voters a campaign plan, could anything be better?

at a minimum, the plan should include 1) REVERSING TAX CUTS FOR BMILLIONAIRES, 2)

(see cont'd)
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2018-04-14 15:56
(cont’d) THAT IS A "TRUE FREE MARKET" ENDING ALL CORPORATE WELFARE - NO MORE FUCKING HANDOUTS! - EVERYBODY PAYS 21% ON PROFITS AFTER EXPENSES OR TAKES HIS FUCKING CORPORATION ELSEWHERE! for example the oil depletion allowance is not an actual expense - IT MUST GO!

when do progressives get to primary dems ON ISSUES? when do dems take on OUTRAGEOUS TAX CUTS?

when do dems get to take on CUTS TO MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICAID? - repukes want to spring that on our unsuspecting public next year! - to campaign against? why on earth would dems wait? as a favor to repukes?

before the PRIMARIES, robbee prays that the media presents ISSUES to VOTERS so that voters know what they are voting about - that is, what candidates stand for! - not this moment, IN AIRLOCK, but if and when the sexy air of adultery and missile diplomacy blows away? - IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK OF MSM?

as for dem thought leaders, kindly let us know what all dem candidates should, at a minimum, stand for? to set a standard and help us pick who to vote for, to support and why, thanks! - first and foremost, this includes you bernie? if you please? - have you been to a mountaintop? will you show us to a promised land?
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2018-04-14 16:22
(cont’d) moreover, no matter how much you and i and the bottom 99% of us consumers contribute to bernie, who faithfully shares his donations among progressives, and to elizabeth, who shares her donations among dems, and among all dem candidates of every progression, note that WE CANNOT AFFORD, WE HAVE INSUFFICIENT FUNDS, TO MATCH what corporations can withdraw from loose change! - even before these new, huge tax cuts, we simply can’t match! not even close!

WHEN WILL ANYONE? BERNIE? PROPOSE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT PUBLICLY FUNDS, ONLY, ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS? - if a small town in iowa is so broke it can afford only pencils? then candidates and unpaid supporters can campaign door to door? NO ADS!

bernie and reich have connected all the dots! they know why we need to public fund federal, state and local elections! they have explained our desperate need, right here on rsn!

it is reasonable to predict that, before they die, they will both propose this amendment to our constitution! - bernie? reich? if you please? - have you been to a mountaintop? will you show us to a promised land?
 
 
0 # chapdrum 2018-04-15 12:55
How likely would a left-wing strategy be to discredit strikers?
 

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