Given the animosity expressed by the libertarian cliques of Silicon Valley towards trade unionism, the growth of unions among the staff of many online publications, including Buzzfeed, Vox, and Vice, is remarkable. Admittedly, it has taken plummeting wages, conditions and mass layoffs to persuade some employees of the new “2.0” media to realise that the members of the old “1.0” media may have been on to something with their insistence on collective representation. Of course, we have been through this process before, when a number of press tycoons led the charge against print and journalistic unions back when newspapers dominated the medium, both broadsheet and tabloid. Robert Maxwell, the controversial Czech-British tycoon, was once lauded for his attempts to smash the influence of print unions in Britain. However his union-busting was eventually discovered to have a far darker side in the aftermath of his probable suicide at sea. When entrepreneurs and company executives strike a particularly hard line against their employees forming or joining trade unions it is with good reason. Or rather, usually entirely bad ones.
(As a side note, here is a report by Laura Flanders from May 1990 discussing the application of censorship by the United Kingdom in the north of Ireland and the abject failure of American reporting on the conflict.)