Former ABC and NBC Reporter Yearns for Chinese Dictatorship in USA to Build Railroads

Former ABC and NBC reporter John Hockenberry now hosts a New York public-radio morning show called The Takeaway, and he stunned listeners on Tuesday by channeling his inner Thomas Friedman. He yearned for a Chinese dictatorship in a segment lamenting how slowly the federal government is funding railroad projects:  

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: You know, it makes you yearn for a Chinese dictatorship, essentially. I mean, they're putting up 30 billion dollars to create high-speed [rail] networks from Shanghai to Beijing and all the major cities in China, and there are a lot of them. But the federal government just isn't a dictatorship, and we're not going to get one any time soon.  We missed our chance, I guess, during the George W. Bush -- okay, I'm going to get some e-mails for that.

CELESTE HEADLEE, co-host: Are you saying you want a Chinese dictatorship?

Hockenberry just brushed his co-host aside, and changed the subject back to rail projects in Florida.

Transportation reporter Collin Campbell was underlining how states want the federal government to underwrite a national rail network, not just pay for 25 or 50 percent of the costs. Hockenberry asked Campbell: "If we can't get high-speed rail done in the United States at this moment, what other problems can't we solve?" Campbell said the volcano in Iceland has helped high-speed rail advocates, since that trains could help move people when airlines cannot.

The Takeaway is a co-production of Public Radio International and WNYC radio in New York in collaboration with the BBC World Service, The New York Times, and WGBH Boston.

Previously: Hockenberry was chosen (along with former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw) to help President Barack Obama select White House fellows.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis