NBC Rebukes U.S. for Not Matching "World" on Paid Maternity Leave --7/29/2005
2. Olbermann Suggests Plame Case "Deja Vu" for Watergate's John Dean
3. If "Liar" Cheney Runs, Helen Thomas Promises "I'll Kill Myself"
Correction: The July 28 CyberAlert carried the correct July 28 date, but was mislabeled as "Wednesday" instead of the correct day, Thursday.
Seemingly prompted by a Tuesday AP story on how "the United States and Australia are the only industrialized countries that don't provide paid leave for new mothers," an article USA Today posted online Wednesday under the headline, "U.S. behind other countries in terms of maternity leave," NBC's Today on Thursday jumped on the supposed problem and featured the same professor and liberal Congressman quoted by the AP. Co-host Campbell Brown demanded: "Why does the rest of the world get paid leave while moms here race back to work?" She declared that the lack of a law requiring paid maternity leave is "a real problem." Matt Lauer echoed: "It's really important for so many working moms, it's just unbelievable." Reporter Mark Mullen unfavorably compared the U.S. with Canada and Sweden before he featured a professor who asserted that "we are a disaster" on guaranteed leave. Mullen painted the current Family and Medical Leave Act inadequate and then promoted how a liberal Congressman, naturally unlabeled, wants to "give parents more."
With "America vs. The World" as the on-screen moniker, the July 28 Today brought aboard Carol Evans of Working Mother magazine to whine about the situation. Brown began: "So listening to that taped piece, we're not doing very well in this."
The MRC's Geoff Dickens took down the plugs fill-in co-host Campbell Brown delivered on the July 28 Today, starting at the top of the program: "Also ahead. New moms and maternity leave. Why does the rest of the world get paid leave while moms here race back to work? We're gonna have some very surprising statistics about that."
At the top of the 7:30m half hour: "And then later the truth about maternity leave. How do we stack up compared to other countries? And the answer might surprise you."
Before and ad break at 7:38am: "And still ahead. Why the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to maternity leave and what you can do if you're a new mom."
Standing outside in front of the crowd at 8am: "We also have another really interesting story coming up in this half hour. If you have a baby, have children or are thinking about having a baby some interesting information about maternity leave policies. The United States is only one of two, let me get this right, Australia's the other one, two industrialized countries that [meant to say "don't"] guarantee moms paid maternity leave and it's a real problem or at least something you need to look, look at ahead of time. And we're gonna give you some information on how to find out about your company's policies and what we can do about it."
Lauer soon plugged the next segment: "When we come back, moms, money and maternity leave. Why some businesses may be giving moms in the U.S. the short end of the stick."
Finally, after all the hype, at 8:11am Today arrived at the crisis. Brown lamented: "In most of the world mothers with newborns are guaranteed at least some paid leave from work to take care of their new arrivals but new moms here in the U.S. don't get that luxury. Here's NBC's Mark Mullen."
Mullen began with the plight of an American woman, though he did not identify her location: "Raylynne Daza [sp] treasures the days she spends with her son Aiden. Her maternity leave expires soon and before she's really ready Raylynne will go back to work and leave her baby in child care."
With "Maternity Leave: America vs. The World" on screen, Brown set up an interview segment: "Carol Evans is the CEO of Working Mother Magazine. Carol, good morning to you....So listening to that taped piece, we're not doing very well in this-"
Evans consumed the rst of her time by outlining how to press the human resources department.
Home page for Evans' magazine: www.workingmother.com
"U.S. Sets Own Course on Maternity Leave" read the headline over a July 26 AP story by business reporter Peter Svensson, as posted by Yahoo.
The next day, USA Today posted it in the Money section of its Web site under the more aggressive headline, "U.S. behind other countries in terms of maternity leave."
An excerpt from Svensson's story:
In Santa Fe, N.M., Linda Strauss McIlroy, a first-time mother, is trying to get used to the thought of soon putting her two-month-old boy in day care so she can get back to work.
"It's hard for me to imagine leaving him," she says. "Just not being with him all day, leaving him with a virtual stranger. And then that's it till, you know, I retire. It's kind of crazy to think about it."
Across the border in Vancouver, British Columbia, Suzanne Dobson is back at work after 14 months of paid maternity leave.
"It was great," she says. "I was still making pretty good money for being at home."
Across the ocean, in Sweden, Magnus Larsson is looking forward to splitting 16 months of parental leave at 80 percent pay with his girlfriend. They are expecting their first baby in a week.
With little public debate, the United States has chosen a radically different approach to maternity leave than the rest of the developed world. The United States and Australia are the only industrialized countries that don't provide paid leave for new mothers nationally, though there are exceptions in some U.S. states.
Australian mothers have it better, however, with one year of job-protected leave. The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act provides for 12 weeks of job-protected leave, but it only covers those who work for larger companies.
To put it another way, out of 168 nations in a Harvard University study last year, 163 had some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.
How did it end up this way?
"To me it's a puzzle. I can give you all the arguments that have been used, but that still doesn't really solve the puzzle," says Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, a professor of child development and education at Columbia University....
There have been several attempts at introducing paid maternity leave in the United States. The Clinton administration wanted to allow states to use unemployment funds for maternity leaves, but that was shot down by the Bush administration after opposition from business groups concerned with increased contribution to state unemployment funds.
A bill introduced in the House by Reps. Pete Stark and George Miller, both D-Calif., would establish a fund that would replace 55 percent of pay for workers on FMLA leave. Contributions to the fund would come from employers.
"There are a couple of central problems when we look at paid leave legislation. The first is: who's paying for it?" asks Michael Eastman, director of labor policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. employers already pay $21 billion a year in direct costs related to the FMLA, Eastman says, in addition to indirect costs like additional overtime for those who fill in for workers on leave....
END of Excerpt
For the article, as posted by Yahoo: news.yahoo.com
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann remains obsessed with the Plame/Rove case and with analogizing it to Watergate. On Thursday night's Countdown he devoted a segment to "questions about a third administration official who may have leaked the classified information without a reporter even asking about it." Describing that as "the latest tentacle springing out from what some have already called 'The Never-Ending Story,'" as if he has nothing to do with making sure it never ends, Olbermann introduced a Watergate figure and linked the two scandals by suggesting the guest may have "a sense of deja vu" now: "Paying close attention to that story both for a series of columns on the Findlaw Web site and because perhaps of his own sense of deja vu, is John Dean, the White House counsel to Richard Nixon and author of the book, 'Worse than Watergate.'"
The Tuesday and Wednesday night Countdown shows, without Olbermann, featured segments on the Plame case and Olbermann did segments all last week. On Monday's show, as recounted in the July 26 CyberAlert, Olbermann applied a Watergate analogy to the Plame/Rove case as he asserted that "in the same summer in which Deep Throat has been identified, that remodeled phrase from Watergate keeps reappearing: What did the 'fill-in-the-blank' know and when did he know it?" Olbermann noted how "the White House Chief-of-Staff knew about the investigation at least 12 hours before the White House itself was warned." Citing a supposedly "potentially explosive question," Olbermann reveled in how "a phone call between Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card" is "raising eyebrows and raising questions about a 12-hour gap, a 12-hour gap that might really be an 84-hour gap." As for whether President Bush will sacrifice Karl Rove, Olbermann recalled how "Richard Nixon loved Ehrlichman and Haldeman and got rid of them both on the same day." www.mediaresearch.org
A plug at 8:15pm EDT: "And the plot thickens also in the outing of the CIA officer, Valerie Plame. Questions about a third administration official who may have leaked the classified information without a reporter even asking about it."
At 8:30pm EDT: "From real men of genius to men under real suspicion. Never mind Karl Rove, is a third White House staffer believed to have talked to a reporter about Valerie Plame?"
Olbermann set up the eventual segment: "A third administration figure has now been injected into the CIA leak/Karl Rove investigation. A reporter's source, who is neither Rove nor Vice President Cheney's Chief-of-Staff, Scooter Libby, and a reporter's source whose reporter makes it clear in no uncertain terms the source volunteered the information that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA analyzing weapons of mass destruction. Our third story on the Countdown, to borrow the title of the old Carol Reed/Joseph Cotton/Orson Wells masterpiece, 'The Third Man.'
White House press corps veteran Helen Thomas, now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, told The Hill newspaper that if "Dick Cheney is going to run for President, I'll kill myself," adding: "All we need is one more liar." The "Under the Capitol Dome" column by Albert Eisele and Jeff Dufour in the July 28 Hill, a newspaper which covers Capitol Hill, also quoted Thomas as asserting: "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."
On National Review's "The Corner" blog early Thursday morning Kathryn Jean Lopez noted the Thomas remarks quoted by The Hill: corner.nationalreview.com
....Thomas, a syndicated columnist for Hearst Newspapers who has covered the White House since the Kennedy administration, wrote in May that Cheney "certainly could campaign on the theme that he has had experience in running the White House."
Thomas made the suggestion in a column she wrote about President Bush's not being notified about a terror scare caused by an off-course Cessna airplane until after it was over, according to Editor & Publisher magazine.
Declaring that the incident "again raises the question of who's running the show," Thomas also noted Cheney's central role on Sept. 11 and the widely held view that he is "probably the most powerful vice president in recent times, perhaps in U.S. history."
But asked this week if she is promoting a Cheney candidacy, Thomas made it clear she isn't.
"The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told The Hill. "All we need is one more liar."
Thomas added, "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."
END of Excerpt
But she admires Bill Clinton. Here's how she introduced him at an October 9, 2001 Greater Washington Society of Association Executives lecture shown on C-SPAN:
That won the "Bring Back Bubba Award" at the MRC's DisHonors Awards held in early 2002. For a RealPlayer clip of Thomas: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker