The Postal Service: The Master of Spin

By Richard Thayer

I wrote recently about certain media outlets, like The Washington Post, deliberately distorting the facts surrounding the financial  plight of the Postal Service.

Today I’d like to talk about another culprit who is intentionally misleading the public and Congress.

That culprit is the United States Postal Service. It’s one thing for certain “news” media – like Fox News for example – to deliver news that is anything but “fair and balanced,” but it’s another thing when the Postal Service itself skewers the facts in its misguided efforts to reduce delivery days from six to five, to significantly reduce its full-time workforce in favor of part-timers, and to have Congress interfere in our collective bargaining process.

But, of course, for those of us who have worked for the Postal Service, this doesn’t come as a big surprise. The Postal hierarchy has used underhanded tactics in dealing with its employees and its customers for decades. Over the years it has become a well-oiled “spin machine.” Now it’s using its skill at distorting the facts in order to make the American public actually believe that five-day mail delivery is the best and only way for it to become profitable again.

The USPS would have Congress believe that the “American public” is in favor of five-day delivery. Much of this is the result of flawed polling practices in which questions are asked in a misleading way and without giving the pollee all the pertinent information. Thus the poll results give a misleading picture of what the “American public” wants. This is nothing new for the Postal Service. They’ve done the same thing with the Voice of the Employee surveys for years. Garbage in, garbage out.

In news releases over the past several months the USPS has attempted to hinder good-faith negotiations between the USPS and its unions. In an effort to get Congress and the public to side with it, it has stated that in the event of contract negotiation impasses “an arbitrator determines the final outcome and is not legally required to consider the Postal Service’s financial obligations when rendering a decision.”

This is bull puckey. Anytime an arbitrator considers a case, the Postal Service’s finances are always taken into consideration.

One would think that with the House’s majority in favor of “less government” interference, this wouldn’t be a potential problem. Unfortunately, that same majority is also in favor of privatizing government agencies so that big corporations make more money, so it needs to be monitored very closely.

It’s a shame that the Postal Service has to rely on misleading news stories in order to make its case before Congress, but whenever we see this cropping up in our local news outlets, we need to do the same thing that our leaders are doing on the national level and move quickly to set the record straight.


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