Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Yolk in the Eye for Journalist Chris Rauber and SEIU's Steve Trossman

It looks like Steve Trossman (SEIU-UHW’s Communications Director) and Chris Rauber (a reporter at the San Francisco Business Times) have egg on their faces… again! Readers might remember Rauber from an earlier episode, when he published an article -- peddled by Trossman -- that got the facts all wrong on SEIU-UHW’s contract with Tenet Healthcare.

Apparently, Rauber is SEIU-UHW’s favorite go-to journalist because he simply re-prints SEIU’s press releases as full-blown articles without doing any fact-checking. (Talk about lazy journalism!)

How did Rauber accomplish his latest faceplant? This summer, NUHW and the Courage Campaign (an advocacy organization) asked California’s governor to investigate double-digit insurance rate hikes that Kaiser Permanente imposed on more than 300,000 California consumers. In letters to the governor, the two organizations pointed out that Kaiser failed to justify its rate hikes, as required by California law.

After the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the complaints, Rauber printed his own SEIU-inspired article trashing the San Francisco Chronicle and its reporter. Rauber simply dismissed the complaint against Kaiser as “a bargaining ploy” and called the Chronicle’s article “odd.” (Hmmm, Tasty wonders why it’s "odd" for a newspaper to write about giant companies ripping off the public…)

Well, here’s the latest news. Government officials just finished their investigation and… guess what? NUHW and the Courage Campaign were right! Kaiser was over-charging California consumers by as much as $30 million. And Kaiser, which is swimming in $5.7 billion in profits, has agreed to partially roll back its rate hikes on the 300,000 consumers.

So what is SEIU’s "dynamic duo of disinformation" saying about these latest developments? As far as Tasty can tell, there’s not a peep from Trossman and Rauber. Must be busy cleaning all that egg off their faces.