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