The Washington Post

Sleazy last minute tactics in Ohio labor fight

In case you needed another sign of how far right wing groups are willing to go in a last ditch effort to avoid defeat in the Ohio labor fight, check out this tactic.

A flyer is making the rounds in Ohio (which you can view below) that advertises a “new hotline” designed to fight the “misinformation” being spread about Issue 2, the referendum that would affirm Governor John Kasich’s law rolling back public employee bargaining rights.

The flyer directs voters to call a phone number, where they can listen to a “short recorded message summarizing the issue” and get “real facts” about it.

“Please get the word out about this opportunity for voters to understand Issue 2,” the flyer says. “If you have been confused by misleading ads, or know someone who really wants to understand Issue 2, please call.”

But it turns out the recorded call makes all kinds of lurid claims against a No vote on the referendum — and even advances the argument that a No vote would be bad for public workers and force layoffs of cops and firefighters.

The flyer is not sourced to any group, aside from saying at the bottom: “Coast,” and “Gocoast on Twitter.” That’s a reference to a group called the “Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes,” which has no listed phone number, but has surfaced on the conservative side of Ohio fights in the past.

Anyone seeing this flyer would have no immediate idea that this is a partisan message being paid for by a group trying to influence the outcome of this fight.

When you call the number, you hear this recording (the audio was posted to YouTube by a labor source, and I called the number on the flyer to confirm it):

The audio argues that a No vote on Issue 2 would imperil public services and would lead automatically to higher taxes and layoffs of public employees. In other words, the implication is that a Yes vote affirming the law rolling back bargaining rights would be better for public workers. It also suggests that Issue 2 would not require any sacrifices from public employees, a claim that was strongly challenged by PolitiFact.

The call says that it was paid for by the aforementioned Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.

Here’s the flyer directing voters to make the call:

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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