CNN Gets Its Living-In-A-Box Scare Story from the Chicago Tribune
Mark Finkelstein noticed how CNN found Chicago single mother Madonna Alvarez to suggest Sen. Jim Bunning was going to have her living in a cardboard box. CNN surely found this from an even more dramatic story by Duaa Eldeib in Monday's Chicago Tribune that started like this:
Madonna Alvarez, a single mother of three, fears her unemployment benefits and the little that's left of her savings are all that stand between her family and a cardboard box.
She and thousands of others had been hoping for an extension of those benefits. But they are at risk of being cut off because of a spending dispute in Washington after a lone lawmaker, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., used a filibuster to block legislation to extend the payments for 30 days.
Wrong. Bunning is not using a filibuster. It continues:
Bunning says he opposes the extension because money has not been found to pay for it. But other officials, including Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who supported the measure, warned that it would have a dire impact on many families in Illinois and across the country.
"We anticipate 15,000 people each week, beginning this week, will exhaust their benefits," said Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, explaining that families would begin losing benefits starting Saturday.
The Tribune story is perfect -- if by perfect, we mean that it's stuffed with Democrats and there's not one quote for anyone to defend the alleged Democratic ideal of pay-as-you-go budgeting. We just hear that Bunning is "cruel" and that dependency on the government under Bunning is a ticking time bomb:
[Democrat Sen. Dick] Durbin, in a statement, called it "cruel" to play politics with working families. The check doesn't replace a person's wages, but "at least helps keep their families from going hungry as they hunt for work," he said
Early Monday, 30 to 40 people waited outside the Chicago Workforce Center with questions about their unemployment. Inside the unemployment resource agency, employees fielded calls from harried residents wondering if they had been cut off.
"As people hear the news, they want to know how it will affect them," said Kristen Gianfortune, a representative with National Able Network, which runs the center in conjunction with the Department of Employment Security. "For a lot of families, it's a ticking time bomb."
CNN used this cardboard-box story as part of a Make Bunning Surrender package.
BASH: Meanwhile, in the real world, that stalemate is having a devastating effect on people like Madonna Alvarez.
MADONNA ALVAREZ: This cardboard box that we will be living in.
BASH: A single mother of three who was laid off last year. She says her unemployment check is blocked until Congress passes the extension.
ALVAREZ: I'm just trying to pay my house. That's it. That's the only thing that I don't want to lose. It's my kids' home. This is all we have.
BASH: Alvarez is one of 100,000 people the Labor Department says lost their jobless benefits as of Sunday. Stories like that prompted GOP Senator Susan Collins to publicly plead with Bunning, her fellow Republican, to give in.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: On behalf of numerous members of the Republican Caucus who have expressed concerns to me, there are 500 Mainers whose benefits expired on Sunday.
Alvarez puts forward a slightly different profile on Facebook. Her "don't f*** with me" might be directed at Republican senators.