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Media Downplay Ideology of Wal-Mart Foes

     The media fell silent about the motivations of supporters of a newly passed Maryland law targeting Wal-Mart. USA Today failed to document Wal-Mart Watchs union and anti-business ties and The New York Times ignored Families USAs history of advocating socialized medicine.

     Stephanie Armour, reporting in the January 13 USA Today, quoted officials with the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce who supported and opposed the bill respectively. But in labeling Wal-Mart Watch as a Washington-based group focused on the mega-retailer, Armour suggested an organization without an ax to grind.

     A look at WalMartWatch.com, however, revealed extensive labor union and liberal interest allies, including the SEIU and UFCW labor unions, the Sierra Club, and Sprawl-Busters, a group whose self-professed goal is to design and implement successful campaigns against megastores and other undesirable large-scale developments.

     When quoting Families USA official Ronald Pollack, in the January 13 New York Times, writer Michael Barbaro innocuously labeled that group a nonprofit health advocacy organization. Yet Families USA was a key supporter of the Clinton socialized medicine plan in 1994. In the August 27, 1994, New York Times, writer Robert Pear celebrated crusaders for universal health insurance coverage like Pollack whose dream had been deferred but would not die.

     When one tries to achieve comprehensive, significant social changes those things dont happen overnight, Pollack told Pear.

     Barbaro also described Wal-Mart concerned enough about the bill to hire four firms to lobby the legislature intensely over the last two months, and contributed at least $4,000 to Gov. Ehrlichs re-election without similarly detailing the cost and intensity that Families USA and labor unions brought to bear on Marylands 188 lawmakers, all of whom face re-election alongside Ehrlich in November.

     Maryland workers may see the laws negative consequences months before election day. CNNs Andy Serwer reported on the January 13 American Morning, that Wal-Mart may scrap plans for a 1,000-job distribution center in Maryland due to the laws provisions, which take effect in February.