CNN's Velshi Returns to Slamming Insurance Companies
â€śGee, Iâ€™d love to be fair and balanced, but I tried even less than I did two days ago.â€ť
Thatâ€™s what CNNâ€™s Ali Velshi might as well have said in his August 30 story on â€śAmerican Morningâ€ť in his weeklong series, â€śRed Tape and Rubble.â€ť The CNN business reporter showed insurance claimants and attorneys suing insurance companies, but failed to include a spokesman from an insurance trade group. He did so, albeit briefly, just two days prior, however.
In between stories of frustrated insurance claimants, Velshi shared that â€śthe insurance industry says that some in the media and CNN in particular havenâ€™t given them a fair shake.â€ť In response, Velshi added that he â€śinvited the CEO of State Farmâ€ť and the president and CEO of Allstate were â€śunable to accommodate our request for an interview either.â€ť
Yet elsewhere in his story, Velshi admitted that one insurance company was unable to talk to Velshi about individual cases, exactly the topic of Velshiâ€™s story: individual cases of frustrated insurance claimants.
â€śAllstate says it wonâ€™t comment on specific cases,â€ť he noted after highlighting one coupleâ€™s gripes about the company.
In fact, many companies refuse to comment to the media about cases under litigation or threat of litigation, and Velshi should know it. Instead, the business reporter could have sought comment from the American Insurance Association (AIA) or the Insurance Information Institute (III) for industry input in his story.
Indeed, thatâ€™s what he did two days earlier, when Velshi filed a similarly slanted story about damage to one Cecil Tillmanâ€™s property in his first installment of â€śRed Tape and Rubble.â€ť In his August 28 story, Velshi noted that â€śwe wanted to ask Nationwide about Tillmanâ€™s case, but the firm wouldnâ€™t comment, so we went to the Insurance Information Institute, the industryâ€™s public relations arm.â€ť
Whatâ€™s more, while Velshiâ€™s featured hurricane victims may have legitimate complaints, the CNN reporter failed to note that these cases in the tiny minority of insurance claims, according to the III. The organization reported on August 22 that 95 percent of claims from Katrina have been finalized â€śand the vast majorityâ€ť of those dealing with insurance claims in Mississippi and Louisiana â€śare satisfied with their insurance company.â€ť