CNN's Romans Bashes Economy with Unbalanced Story
CNNâ€™s Lou Dobbs and correspondent Christine Romans told their September 6 audience the American Dream is dying, citing the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) to make that case, even though numerous studies â€“ including a previous one by EPI â€“ tell a different story.
Whatâ€™s more, Romans attempted to portray the new EPI study as confirmation of the worst fears of a woman she interviewed on the street. But viewers were left in the dark that the Boston area woman, Abby Subak, used to do fundraising for Ralph Naderâ€™s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), a pro-regulation group frequently critical of business.
Channeling his best prophet-of-doom bombast, Dobbs preached that although the â€śUnited States has long been the land of opportunity,â€ť successful achievement of the American Dream â€śin this country could become a relic of our past.â€ť
â€śNow more than ever before, the chances that the next generation of Americans will do better than the last are quickly, quickly disappearing,â€ť he concluded.
Romans led with a human interest angle: â€śAbby Subak is a mother of two from Boston.â€ť
â€śFor my kids, I am nervous,â€ť Subak lamented. â€śI don't know if it's a given they'll be able to achieve their American Dream.â€ť That cued Romans to point to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) to back up Subakâ€™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 Naderâ€™s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).
Subak confirmed to BMI that in fact she was the woman featured in Romansâ€™ piece.
After showing Subakâ€™s gloomy prediction, Romans insisted that â€śshe may be right,â€ť pointing to the â€śthink tank, the Economic Policy Instituteâ€ť which â€śfinds it would take a poor couple with two children nine or 10 generations to achieve middle class status. That's about 200 years.â€ť
Aside from EPI, Romans turned to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici for comment. â€śIf you look at the mechanisms for upward mobility that were so readily available 50 years ago, 25 years ago, they are becoming further out of reach,â€ť he claimed.
But as the Business & Media Institute has documented previously, Morici leans to the left on economic policy. For instance, on the February 26 â€śNightly Newsâ€ť on NBC, Morici advocated a â€śuniversal approach to providing health care for low-wage workers.â€ť
Romans did give air time to one dissenting viewpoint: The Heritage Foundationâ€™s Bill Beach, who argued that most of oneâ€™s socioeconomic status depends on personal effort, not family background.
Scoffing that Beach â€śsides with those who believe this economy is creating opportunities for everyone,â€ť Romans told her audience Beachâ€™s arguments were â€ślittle consolation for the millions of people who find themselves below the poverty line.â€ť
Yet a 2001 review by Heritageâ€™s D. Mark Wilson of data from five separate studies, including one from EPI, confirmed Beachâ€™s argument. According to a 2000 study by EPI, â€śalmost 60 percent of Americans in the lowest income quintile in 1969 were in a higher quintile in 1996â€ť while â€śover 61 percent in the highest income quintile had moved down into a lower income quintile during the same period.â€ť