"Good Morning America" criticized fees charged to customers who return rental cars without a full tank of gas - part of a standard car rental agreement.
"The only thing more expensive than gassing up your car these days is not gassing up your rental car," reporter Elisabeth Leamy explained to viewers on August 29. She said companies across the nation charge as much as $8 per gallon for cars returned unfilled.
Sometimes the qualities that make a strong candidate in one pool make them a weak candidate in another pool.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would hurt Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain as a running mate because of "vulnerability" stemming from his successful businesses and support for free trade, according to a reporter for The Washington Post.
"On the whole subject of trade deals and free trade agreements is that a vulnerability, a potential vulnerability on the side of Mitt Romney?" Andrea Mitchell asked Post reporter Chris Cillizza on the August 28 broadcast of "MSNBC Live".
"It absolutely is," said Cillizza, who writes "The Fix" blog at WashingtonPost.com. "And that's a calculation I think the McCain campaign has to make. Yes, Mitt Romney has great business bona fides. Built a business, he used that line many times in the primary: ‘I know why jobs come and I know why they go.'"
"The other side of that, however, is he worked for a company called Bingham Capital that occasionally engaged in leverage buyouts, that means shipping jobs overseas. That's not the kind of thing that's going to go over well in these rust belt states where McCain needs to perform well, most notably Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania," Cillizza said.
That “Made in America” sticker is looking more attractive.
Second-quarter (2Q) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised up from 1.9 percent growth to a higher than anticipated 3.3 percent, according to reports on August 28.
Rising exports played a significant role in the expansion. According to the Commerce Department, real exports increased 13.2 percent in the 2Q of 2008, compared with an increase of 5.1 percent in the first. Real imports of goods and services decreased 0.8 percent in the first quarter and 7.6 percent in the second.
Former president Jimmy Carter told Harry Smith on CBS's "The Early Show" August 27 that he predicted "oil companies will hold down oil prices a little bit, you know, to try to help the Republican ticket."
Carter also said that the economy would be the most important issue, "as it was when Bill Clinton was elected the first time."
The former president also said it was "surprising and gratifying" when presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., carried Georgia in the primary "over two attractive white candidates-Hillary Clinton and John Edwards."
Greg Hunter, a CNN correspondent for "Your $$$$$,"made the same prediction that oil prices would go down as the election nears on the June 16 broadcast. "[T]hey're going to drive that price down, they're going to pop the dollar up, they're going to drive the price down, they're going to work this, say, for the election," he said.
"Hillary has fought for universal health-care for all her life. The McCain plan is respectfully a joke. Sen. Obama has a real good plan to bring health care to every American," Rendell told CBS "The Early Show" co-host Harry Smith on August 25. "She cares about that. If she didn't she'd be a bad person and she's a very good person."
Rendell, who supported Clinton in the primary, said Obama's proposal to offer a government-run health insurance program should persuade Clinton supporters to back Obama.
There are plenty of female opponents of Obama's plan who might not appreciate being called "bad."
"I think that a lot of women, when they think about moving towards government run system of health care, which is really what Sen. Obama is talking about, they're going to be a little bit cautious," Carrie Lukas, Vice President for Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum, said to the Business & Media Institute.
So if a government program has been failing for decades, should you A) Privatize it, B) Get rid of it altogether, or C) Throw millions of dollars at it and hope that Americas somehow feel compelled to reenact scenes from "Some Like it Hot."
The answer is C if you were watching CNN this morning.
"American Morning" pointed out that high gas prices were the reason ridership on Amtrak was up 14 percent and then pushed for more funding for the government-sponsored program through a recent Senate proposal.
"The problem for Amtrak of course though is that they haven't had a single new passenger car since 1990," said personal finance editor Gerri Willis on the August 21 broadcast. "Their cars, even the locomotives are old and aging; they're asking Congress for help. Dick Durbin has introduced legislation into the Senate to try and do something about that. Interestingly he says that Thanksgiving is going to be a wake up call for Americans as we all try to go visit relatives for the holidays."
"What they need is new track, because every Sunday it's like this all the way up," said co-host John Roberts simulating a bumpy train ride with his anchor chair.
CBS's "The Early Show," reported August 7 that a new stronger strain of the West Nile virus could spread across the country with help from the neglected pools found in foreclosed homes in California.
"Apparently ... as more and more homes are passing into foreclosure and there are many, and many of those homes have backdoor pools, these are being neglected," Dr. Alton Baron of Roosevelt Hospital Center told co-host Maggie Rodriguez. "They're not being maintained and this can become a ripe feeding ground and breeding ground for these mosquito populations."
Baron added that the new strain of the virus "invades the brain and spinal cord" and listed other horrific symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, rashes, disorientation, severe muscle weakness, fatigue or even paralysis.
Mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water, pass on West Nile to animals and humans when they feed off fowl that have the virus in their blood.
Foreclosures in the state of California may have hit a record high, but there are signs of a change-signs "The Early Show" ignored.
Co-host Harry Smith warned viewers about what might be "lurking inside" granite countertops - radioactivity.
"There's granite all over the place in modern kitchens, sometimes you have a little breakfast nook. You sit there; you may sit there hours and hours and hours in a day ... I mean some people have gone so far as to tear their kitchen counters out because of the concern," said Smith to Stanley Liebert, the quality assurance director at CMT Laboratories.
Liebert said radon gas, a "carcinogen gas that we inhale [that] causes lung cancer," is emitted from certain types of granite and could be harmful.
Smith showed some skepticism saying, "I'm having a difficult time getting my head around the idea that the countertops in your home might literally be dangerous." But he didn't include any representatives of the industry in the story.
"[Europe] wants to see an [American] president committed to free trade," cautioned CNN Chief International Correspondent from Berlin, Germany, the site of a speech by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Amanpour pointed to Obama's wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement as a problem for the Illinois senator. She explained why on the July 24 broadcast during Obama's visit to Europe.
"But let me tell you a word of caution. The European top trade official for instance has said, ‘Listen Barack Obama quit that crowd pleasing rhetoric and get serious for instance on the issue of trade.' You know Barack Obama as a candidate has talked about renegotiating NAFTA. Well, that does not go down well in Europe, which believes in internationalism and globalism, in globalization," said Amanpour on the morning broadcast.
The Biz Flog, the video blog over at the Business and Media Institute, takes at look at the effect the high cost of oil has had on the airline industry, and the effect that has had on passengers seeing higher ticket prices and fees.
Instead of focusing on and explaining the real causes of higher ticket prices, the media have accused the airline industry of trying to “nickel-and-dime” passengers.
On “MSNBC Live” July 9 host Tamron Hall gave a report on the quality of commercial airline travel, calling price increases “nickel-and-dime fees.”
“Passengers think they’re getting nickel-and-dimed,” host of the Today show, Matt Lauer said July 9 on the morning program. “All the things that were free on planes are now costing us.”
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on July 17 that "there's incredible despair out there and there's a sense that, that something needs to be done and people have kind of an appetite for big government in a way" in America.
Stengel was citing a new poll, but the interview did not discuss the fact that the poll also found 80 percent of respondents said they should be responsible for carrying their own financial burdens.
The poll was a joint effort of Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation, an organization Stengel characterized as "on a mission themselves to help the American worker and find out about the economy."
Could that be political?
"If you say that favors Barack Obama, maybe it does, I don't know," Stengel said.
“[T]he 1.5-million-acre tip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is critical for the health of an ancient caribou herd,” weatherman Sam Champion said on the May 6 “Good Morning America.”
“It’s a safe haven for calving every spring. The same area is valuable for another reason. Underneath it lies billions of barrels of crude oil, as of yet untapped. Oil companies say drilling can be done without danger, but environmentalists disagree. They think drilling would devastate the land and its wildlife,” said Champion.
The Biz Flog, the video blog of the Business & Media Institute, for July 16 focused on what it would take to drill in ANWR and how long it would take the financial benefits to get back to consumers.
When a horrible tragedy happens, media reports try to find a place to point the finger. Although, this time a company name is being tacked on to something they had nothing to do with.
Heparin is a generic drug made by many different companies that is used to thin blood. It has recently been involved in two accidents involving babies and media reports have unfairly connecting one company to both incidents.
Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly are suing Baxter Healthcare Corp. They claimed the heparin blue labels could be confused with a less potent derivative, which reportedly led to the injury of their newborn children, according to Bloomberg.
On July 6, 17 babies in a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, were given an overdose of the drug, resulting in the death of a set of twins. Although their deaths are still being investigated.
Media reports of the incident at Christus Spohn Hospital South in Texas have been tied in with Quaid's lawsuit against Baxter over heparin even though the two cases are unrelated and Baxter has confirmed it did not manufacture the heparin used in the Texas accident.
As Congress takes new aim at speculators for the high price of gasoline, some media reports seem to be following suit. But as The Biz Flog explains this week, there is considerable debate over whether speculators should be blamed for the high cost of oil.
June 23, the same day Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee condemned oil speculators, the "CBS Evening News" and ABC's "World News" blamed oil speculation for a large chunk of the spike in prices.
"There's no doubt speculation plays a role in the skyrocketing price, but how much?" ABC correspondent Ryan Owens said June 23. "Experts say if it were just simple supply and demand a barrel would cost $75. Today it closed north of $135."
Scott Horsley explained oil speculation on June 29 for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," where he pointed out that there have always been financial players in the oil market and there is still a debate over what influence they really have.
You can win in a court of law and still get attacked in the court of public opinion. That's what former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso would have learned from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" July 2.
Host Mika Brzezinski called Grasso a "poster child for Wall Street excess" in reporting a New York State Supreme Court ruling allowing Grasso to keep his $187.5 million pension payout.
"There you go, a little justice there," Brzezinski said. "Jack Welch calls it justice; I call it a very large pay package. It's a lot of money, Jack."
On a "MSNBC Live," report on "sky high gas prices" anchor Tamron Hall relayed the story of one man who is using a horse rather than a vehicle, but did not explain some important reasons why prices have soared.
"The high prices have led ... one Tennessee man to find a more fuel efficient way to get around town in Bradley County: The guy is riding a horse," Hall said on the May 9 broadcast. "It is cheaper to maintain a horse than it is to fill up a gas tank. He says that it costs $150 to $200 a month to ride and feed that pony."
How do you get a better air safety record? Try not crashing first.
The New York Times reported that outside the United States the Federal Aviation Administration is considered a "role model" and "first-rate regulator," because it has the lowest accident rate in the world. The Times' viewed regulation rather than market based innovation as the solution to accident rates in foreign countries.
In Latin America, "accidents number one for every 600,000 flights" and "Africa is the least safe region in the world for air travel, with one accident for every 244,000 flights," said the Times.
One source, Giovanni Bisignani, secretary general of the International Air Transport Association, lamented the "the lack of a common regulatory framework" and failure to live up to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations specialized agency.
But the success of accident records in the United States doesn't lie solely in regulation. Safety looks good to consumers too.
CBS's "Early Show" gave a fairly glowing report from the May Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1, on changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has made in the country. Reporter Elizabeth Palmer called the leader's brother, Fidel Castro, a "revolutionary hero."
Fidel Castro handed provisional power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother, in July 2006. Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency in February 2008 after Fidel Castro fell ill.
Anchor Russ Mitchell said the May Day celebrations in Cuba signaled a "new era" for the country, and Palmer touted reforms like "cell phones," "text-messaging," opening of "resort hotels" to Cuban citizens and "shiny new Chinese buses."
High food prices may be affecting middle-income families, but an anecdotal report on CBS's "The Early Show" April 28 made the situation seem as if one family's use of a food bank was "the new face of hunger."
CBS reporter Priya David highlighted Pablo and Ada Melecio, a couple who recently lost their jobs and have elected to use a food bank to make ends meet. Ada Melecio said their "mortgage payments started falling behind and all the interest on that plus all the credit cards" were making their situation even worse.
Gainor told viewers of the Saturday morning broadcast April 19, "Time magazine basically tried to co-op an icon of American heroism to push their global warming agenda. They're trying to claim that their war against global warming is similar to what our veterans endured during WWII."
He went on to say that there were 28,000 casualties and more than 6,000 people killed at Iwo Jima, exclaiming, "That's real war."
The average American will receive a $2,500 tax refund this year, a statistic that left CBS “The Early Show” host Harry Smith “stunned” on the April 11 broadcast.
“I am stunned to know what the average refund is,” Smith said. “$2,200 [in 2007], that’s too much, right?”
“It is too much,” said Money magazine senior writer Janice Revell.
She explained that the checks actually represent an interest-free loan between the government and taxpayers.
“When you get your refund it feels like this big windfall, you’ve won the lottery, but in essence what you’ve done is you’ve loaned your money, interest-free, to Uncle Sam for the year,” Revell said. “It just makes no sense.”
CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi let viewers in on an underreported fact about rising commodities prices: the government mandate for ethanol production is making corn and other agricultural products more expensive-making inflation a top priority for Americans.
"Several years ago, we made some decisions about how corn is going to be used to make ethanol, which is added to our gasoline," said Velshi on "American Morning" April 4. "A number of people think that that was meant to reduce our dependency on crude oil. What is does is it takes what is fundamentally a food source and makes it into a gasoline source. That's caused corn to go up."
After anecdotal reports that people who used the allergy drug Singulair may develop suicidal tendencies, the Food and Drug Administration announced March 27 that it would investigate. How big the problem might be depends on what network you watch.
Even though CBS's "The Early Show" and NBC's "Today" included statements from Merck (NYSE:MRK), the manufacturer of Singulair, analysis of the investigation was mixed.
If you haven't gotten to check out the Business & Media Institute's new weekly video blog, The Biz Flog, this week's topic is the media's shift from reporting on "recession" to all-out "depression."
Complete with old-timey piano music and grainy film, this week BMI gives you our take on the many instances when reporters have compared the current economy to a time when soup lines and the Dust Bowl carried headlines.
Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Network January 31 to discuss reasons why The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) revenue numbers decreased recently - saying that its product is the problem.
"People have lost confidence in the media according to most studies...Most Americans understand that the...mainstream media are overwhelmingly liberal, overwhelming out of touch with a lot of their issues," Gainor said.
Gainor cited an instance where the Times was ran a story about veterans being more violent when they come back to the United States - turning "anecdotes into a loosely connected story and when you do that you alienate readers. They're the people that the Times work for. Journalists forget that."
Who is the biggest climate sinner? Not China, says the AP.
The Associated Press reported November 7 an interest group's findings that Saudi Arabia and the United States are the worst "climate sinners" for not taking drastic attempts to cut carbon emissions. But it accepted the group's "relatively positive" assertion that China's emission growth will slow in the future.
The news wire story picked up by USA Today reported that Saudi Arabia was the biggest sinner because its policies block attempts to curb greenhouse gases and the U.S. was second because it refuses to sign the Kyoto Treaty.
Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Network December 6 to discuss how the media is choosing sides in the subprime housing problem.
"All throughout this whole year and actually if you go back in the last year and before [the media] have been pointing out that the lenders are the bad guys...CBS News who actually did an okay report last night, then the example they use is someone who has a 6.6% adjustable rate adjusting up to 9.6%, they've got a house the size of a mansion and they've got horses."
Gainor said the important thing that journalists fail to do is to get both the lenders and the home buyer's viewpoints.
National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" gave a report November 30 on misleading "green" products, charging companies with "The Six Sins of Greenwashing."
"You may have thought they were environmentally friendly just because the product says so, but some environmentalists think you're being ‘greenwashed,'" said host Steve Inskeep. "Is one of the sins just lying, then, basically?"
Scot Case of the environmental marketing firm TerraChoice conveyed that "the biggest sin [they] found ... was called ‘The Sin of the Hidden Tradeoff' for products that promote a single issue ... but there are a wide variety of environmental considerations."
TerraChoice evaluated 1,018 retail products for their environmental claims and only one was found to be without sin, while the rest were guilty of offenses like "The Sin of the Lesser of Two Evils," "The Sin of Fibbing" and "The Sin of No Proof."
Remember when you were a kid and all you had to do was cry "wolf" to get your parent or guardian to come to your aid? Well, apparently that doesn't work anymore.
Thanksgiving air travel went well; in fact it went so well it prompted CNN anchor Rob Marciano to exclaim, "Maybe the media sufficiently scared everybody."
CNN's "American Morning" and NBC's "Nightly News" reported the good news on Thanksgiving air travel, with CNN's Kiran Chetry saying it "wasn't so bad" and NBC's Amy Robach calling it a "relatively easy experience."
But both broadcasts forgot an important detail: military air space opened up by President Bush along the East Coast.
ABC's "World News Sunday" gave credit where credit was due - but left out a key point.
"Those express lanes, allowing flights to detour through military air space along the East Coast, also worked," said ABC's Jeremy Hubbard, forgetting to mention that Bush had authorized the air traffic change.