Yet another case of a reporter not giving you all the facts. CNN's Christine Romans tried to pass off a Boston area woman, Abby Subak, as merely a "mother of two" concerned about the death of the American Dream. I thought it fit all too neatly into Romans's story, which hyped the findings of a liberal think tank critical of the Bush economy. Well, sure enough, an Internet search showed that this woman just so happened to have worked before for Ralph Nader's PIRG.Here's a taste from my latest article available at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org:
Channeling his best prophet-of-doom bombast, Dobbs preached that although the “United States has long been the land of opportunity,” successful achievement of the American Dream “in this country could become a relic of our past.”“Now more than ever before, the chances that the next generation of Americans will do better than the last are quickly, quickly disappearing,” he concluded.Romans led with a human interest angle: “Abby Subak is a mother of two from Boston.”“For my kids, I am nervous,” Subak lamented. “I don't know if it's a given they'll be able to achieve their American Dream.” That cued Romans to point to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) to back up Subak’s fears.So, did Romans just run into Subak while on a stroll through Boston Common?A Web search for Subak found she once worked for the Fund For Public Interest Research (FFPIR), the fundraising arm of liberal activist Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).Subak confirmed to BMI that in fact she was the woman featured in Romans’ piece.After showing Subak’s gloomy prediction, Romans insisted that “she may be right,” pointing to the “think tank, the Economic Policy Institute” which “finds it would take a poor couple with two children nine or 10 generations to achieve middle class status. That's about 200 years.”Of course such a claim probably seems laughable to Romans’s CNN colleague Betty Nguyen, a victim of the fall of Saigon who fled the South Vietnamese capital in 1975 with her parents.
Recently at the BMI Web site, I documented how USA Today's Stephanie Armour similarly left out the political activism of a woman featured in her September 5 Money section article:
Armour began her day-after-Labor Day Money section story by admitting that most minimum wage-earners “tend to be young,” often with only a high school diploma, and, according to the Labor Department, at 1.9 million workers only “make up 2.5% of all hourly paid workers” in the United States – an 82-percent improvement since 1979’s 13.9 rate.Yet Armour’s article and five accompanying photos focused on “Alice Laguerre, 53, of Orlando,” a high school drop-out. “When I’m by myself, I cry. People never know when I’m down and out. Times are very hard,” she complained to Armour about life working low wages at an auto auction company.Nothing more than a sad story of one person left behind in a strong economy, right? Not exactly. Internet and Nexis searches indicated, and an official with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) confirmed, that Laguerre is a community organizer for the liberal advocacy group, a fact unmentioned by Armour.