NBC Sees London Riots as Fight Between 'Haves and Have Nots'

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Martin Fletcher borrowed a line from Karl Marx as he explained the cause of violent riots in London: "It's a collision between two worlds here, the haves and the have-nots."

Fletcher played up the class warfare angle as he noted how in a wealthy part of the British capital, "This building, 106 New Bond Street, has just been sold for $42 million cash. And what's more, there were 22 cash bidders on the property." He then pointed out: "On an average wage, to buy a house it would take a Londoner 31 years."

Anchor Brian Williams introduced Fletcher's report by proclaiming: "...more on the anger and hopelessness that's fueling a kind of tale of two cities."

Here is a full transcript of Fletcher's August 9 report:

7:07PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: This has, of course, rocked the people of London, as you saw, and elsewhere, who want to know what it is exactly we are witnessing here. Our veteran correspondent Martin Fletcher, a London native himself, is there tonight with more on the anger and hopelessness that's fueling a kind of tale of two cities.

MARTIN FLETCHER: It's a painful week for Londoners. We saw this man being mugged tonight. They beat you up?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah, they beat me up and took everything.

FLETCHER: And this YouTube video, a bleeding boy who'd been beaten. Others appear to help him, then robbed him. Everyone's asking why.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN B: There's nothing more I can take. I'm really shaken up at the moment.

FLETCHER: This is part of the answer. This building, 106 New Bond Street, has just been sold for $42 million cash. And what's more, there were 22 cash bidders on the property. It's a collision between two worlds here, the haves and the have-nots. On an average wage, to buy a house it would take a Londoner 31 years. We found four boys looking on, wise beyond their years. Why are they looting and stealing?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Well, they...

UNIDENTIFIED BOY B: I think they just want to show the power that they have.

FLETCHER: A final thought that may say a lot about our times. In this shopping center every store had been looted but one, the book store. Martin Fletcher, NBC News, London.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC