Amanpour Elevates British Journalist Who Sees ‘Culture of Hate’ in U.S., Time to Divide Up Our ‘Pie’

Christiane Amanpour elevated a liberal British journalist, with little U.S. television experience, to the This Week roundtable where she presumed the government must run the economy and distribute the economic pie while she took pot shots at how the efforts to control illegal immigration proves America’s descent into a “culture of hate.”

Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor of the London-based Financial Times newspaper, began by insisting, that to respond to stagnant employment numbers: “The big question now is can the economy keep growing if the government doesn't keep pumping in money?”

Applying a European economic model, Tett fretted “that so much of America in the last few decades has been about trying to focus on growing the pie, not worrying about how to divide it up” as Americans didn’t “worry about social equity and things like that.” But, showing little faith that Obamanomics will work, she ruminated, “if we are entering a period when the pie is stagnant, the question that’s going to be very political is how do you divide that pie up?”

In her final remark on unemployment, she warned “you really are starting to see the beginnings of a culture of hate, of finger-pointing, of scape-goating.” Minutes later, however, in a discussion of the proposal to modify the 14th amendment to end automatic citizenship through birth, Tett assumed those dark days have already arrived: “It's quick fix soundbite politics in this culture of hate and this, you know, scape-goating that’s going on right now.”

Others on Amanpour’s panel: Politico’s John Harris, New Yorker’s George Packer and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson.

Last week, on reviewing Amanpour’s debut: “Amanpour Slums to Take on U.S. Politics, Flummoxed Pelosi’s Victories Aren’t Better Appreciated

Comments from Gillian Tett during the roundtable on the August 8 This Week with Christiane Amanpour:

> I think it's important to realize that it illustrates is that the President, right now, is at an important juncture point. For the last year, we’ve had some growth in the American economy, but much of that’s been due to government aid, government spending, or what economists call an inventory rebuild – basically, companies and shops ran down their stocks back in late 2008, they rebuilt them, but that process is kind of finished. And the big question now is can the economy keep growing if the government doesn't keep pumping in money?

> The problem in a way, in a sense the social contract in America., the American dream is starting to fragment because for years America's prided itself on having an unemployment rate that was a lot lower than Europe’s, but it didn't have a social safety net like Europe. Now, in a sense, it doesn't have a social safety net, and yet, shockingly, the unemployment rate is approaching European levels, in some cases actually exceeding it. And that’s a real challenge, not just in an economic sense, but in a political sense too about what is the American dream?

> What's fascinating is that so much of America in the last few decades has been about trying to focus on growing the pie, not worrying about how to divide it up because if you keep growing the pie, through innovation, through private sector enterprise, then you don't have to worry about social equity and things like that. But if we are entering a period when the pie is stagnant, the question that’s going to be very political is how do you divide that pie up?

> And poisonous as well. You really are starting to see the beginnings of a culture of hate, of finger-pointing, of scape-goating. And that could fuel the way for some very nasty, very negative politics going forward.  

> [on amending 14th amendment] It's quick fix soundbite politics in this culture of hate and this, you know, scape-goating that’s going on right now.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center