NBC Cheers White House Summit: ‘Kitchen Table Issues That Impact Nearly Every American’

MSNBC”s Chris Jansing has just become NBC News’ Senior White House Correspondent and it seems as though she has brought MSNBC’s liberal ways with her. For her first assignment on Monday, June 23, Jansing did her best to promote the Obama Administration’s “Summit on Working Families”, where MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski participated in a panel entitled “Family Matters.”

Jansing began her inaugural report by hyping “What’s being talked about in Washington tonight are kitchen table issues that impact nearly every American” before detailing how the Obama Administration wants to mandate private businesses provide guaranteed sick and maternity leave." [See video below.]

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced the report by playing up “An issue that affects every American family, the basic struggle between work life and home life and finding a way to balance it all for those who can. Today, the president took up the issue, what just might be an opening salvo to win over a critical voting bloc.”

Jansing continued by lamenting how “As is so often the case here, the answers get tied up in politics” before playing clips of Americans praising the need for paid leave. The newly minted NBC reporter continued to bemoan the lack of federal legislation that exists:

It’s the kind of work-life pressure millions of Americans face but the law does little to address. In a survey of 185 countries, just three don't require paid family leave, Oman, Papua New Guinea and the U.S. And nearly half of working parents say they’d turn down a job because it would be too hard on their families.  

While Jansing briefly mentioned GOP criticism of the proposed policies she used President Obama’s own words to supposedly refute their objections:

But Republicans charge it's really a message to potential swing voters. From Speaker Boehner to Marco Rubio who says the proposals don't go far enough and will soon outline reforms of his own. But the president, who took four working parents to lunch near The White House brushed off suggestions the summit is politically motivated. For him, he says, it's personal.

The NBC Senior White House Correspondent concluded her Obama promotional piece by pushing the need for new legislation one final time: “But the fact remains many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth. And while the president is able to give White House employees paid maternity leave, extending that to the rest of federal employees and beyond would take literally an act of Congress.” 

See relevant transcript below. 


NBC

NBC Nightly News

June 23, 2014

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Now to an issue that affects every American family, the basic struggle between work life and home life and finding a way to balance it all for those who can. Today, the president took up the issue, what just might be an opening salvo to win over a critical voting bloc. We get our report tonight from our new Senior White House Correspondent Chris Jansing. Chris, good evening. 

CHRIS JANSING: Good evening Brian. Well, what's being talked about in Washington tonight are kitchen table issues that impact nearly every American. Will I get paid for maternity leave? Can I take time off to care for a sick child or parent? But as is so often the case here, the answers get tied up in politics. Chris Gardner works at outdoor gear company REI, is dad to two energetic little girls and husband to a full-time teacher. Does their story sound familiar? 

CHRIS GARDNER: There's a negotiation that happens every day about which parent is picking up which child and taking them to which activity.

JANSING: It's the kind of work-life pressure millions of Americans face but the law does little to address. In a survey of 185 countries, just three don't require paid family leave, Oman, Papua New Guinea and the U.S. And nearly half of working parents say they’d turn down a job because it would be too hard on their families. Today, The White House held a summit on working families to make a case for family friendly policies. Jet Blue has more than 2,000 customer service reps who work from home, including Eulique [sic] Furman, mom to a 9 and 12-year-old. 

EULIQUE FURMAN: I work 40 hours a week, my schedule works around my personal life. Not the other way around. 

JANSING: The company SAS has free on-site day care.

UNKNOWN MAN: I can walk over and see how he is and get right back to work. 

JANSING: But these are rare exceptions. The White House today offered few specifics on how to fix the problems facing working families and acknowledge the reforms it supports are unlikely to go anywhere. 

JOSH EARNEST: I think the real hope here is to foster a conversation.

JANSING: But Republicans charge it's really a message to potential swing voters. From Speaker Boehner to Marco Rubio who says the proposals don't go far enough and will soon outline reforms of his own. But the president, who took four working parents to lunch near The White House brushed off suggestions the summit is politically motivated. For him, he says, it's personal.

BARACK OBAMA: I was raised by strong women who worked hard to support my sister and me. I saw what it was like for a single mom.

JANSING: For Chris Gardner, it's all about the support he gets at work. 

GARDNER: I feel very fortunate to have built a career over time while I've been building a family.

JANSING: But the fact remains many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth. And while the president is able to give White House employees paid maternity leave, extending that to the rest of federal employees and beyond would take literally an act of Congress. Brian?

WILLIAMS: Chris Jansing tonight from what will be her new turf, her new assignment, The White House north lawn. Chris, thanks as always. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.