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What The Media Tell Americans About Free Enterprise

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March 1996


Kudos: Tim Russert

It's not very often that a network journalist talks about the positive effects of business competition and stock market growth for workers and for Main Street America. Usually, only the victims of business competition are presented to viewers and those who gain from the stock market are portrayed as greedy. The unorthodox presidential candidacy of Republican Pat Buchanan has caused some reporters to challenge such conventional wisdom.

Case-in-point: NBC's Tim Russert on the March 3 Meet the Press. Russert challenged Buchanan's protectionist trade views by asking the candidate: "Hasn't the [foreign] competition, in fact been good for GM and Ford? Taurus is now the number one car. American cars are better because the American people opted to buy Japanese cars because the quality was better and forced American automobile manufacturers to make their cars better."

Then Russert pointed out how important the stock market is to workers. "I've talked to a lot of people in large corporations and on Wall Street over the last week," he said, "and they tell me that if your trade policies were put in place and your economic program was put in place, it would be a shock to the stock market, that the market would collapse perhaps as much as 20 percent. And they reminded me of something I'm not even sure you're aware of. Do you know what percent of the stock market is pension money? It's a third. Fifty four million people have fully-funded pensions in this country... And Mr. Buchanan, if that market was rattled by your economic policies, pensioners could lose a half billion dollars and their security is threatened."

When most reporters challenge candidates' economic policies, they do so from the left. Kudos to Russert for challenging Buchanan from the right.


Rich Noyes




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