FNC Reports Speaker Pelosi's Star-Kist Gap in the Minimum Wage Hike

Over at The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez reported GOP Reps. Eric Cantor and Patrick McHenry have found there's a loophole in the new minimum-wage increase: no hike for American Samoa. Why? Star-Kist Tuna is a major employer there, with its headquarters in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district.

Will the media notice? FNC did. But so far, the rest of the political media have treated the minimum-wage as about as controversial as a post-office naming bill. But in 2005, we reported the media's Tom DeLay bashers had a fit about DeLay's Abramoff-lobbied coziness with low wages on the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific. PBS's Bill Moyers show "Now" (handed off to the suitably smarmy David Brancaccio) devoted a show to how DeLay was supporting "virtual slavery" in the Pacific. The slavery charge came not only from Brancaccio, but from liberal Rep. George Miller -- Pelosi's across-the-bay neighbor. Where's the media asking: what about the children of Samoa? Will PBS and George Miller throw a fit about the "virtual slavery" left untouched in Tuna Land?

K-Lo passed along the Fox & Friends transcript that publicized the Star-Kist .

STEVE DOOCEY: We teased you with this a moment ago. On Wednesday the U.S. House passed a bill that says the minimum wage in this country will rise over time from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. Now, here's the thing. Included in the small print is the fact that the minimum wage will now include the islands of the northern marinas but it exempts American Samoa which is the only U.S. Territory not subject to minimum wage laws.

BRIAN KILMEADE: What's the big deal about that?

DOOCEY: It covers all islands except American Samoa. Why American Samoa?

GRETCHEN CARLSON: It just so happens Steve that Star Kist tuna employs 75% of the island's work force. They are making a lot of tuna there. Apparently then that is shipped off to San Francisco in a district where Nancy Pelosi is from. And now her people are saying that, you know, she has never been influenced by Star Kist at all but other people are saying, hey, this is a little bit of hypocrisy because how can this particular group of people benefit by not having to pay the new minimum wage which is almost $2 more an hour before.

KILMEADE: They have two major plants there and then all of a sudden they don't have to pay this money and this is a woman I'm going to fight corruption and things on the up and up and make things transparent. Reps. Eric Cantor and Patrick McHenry are beside themselves. Cantor says he is shocked. Now Patrick McHenry when he realizes this, hopped up on the Senate floor, says wait a second have you exempted the American Samoa you have included all these other regions and territories, everything else? When they started debating stem cell research, excuse me based on this is American Samoa going to be excluded from stem cell research? And Barney Frank went crazy said to him sit down essentially. Continue with your talk that had nothing to do with stem cell research in American Samoa.

DOOCEY: So in American Samoa they have a lot of tuna. It's processed by Star Kist, which is, their headquarters is actually in San Francisco because Star Kist is owned by the food conglomerate Del Monte which is in Nancy Pelosi's home district. Are you connecting the dots? Let's get this straight. Everybody has got to raise their minimum wage except American Samoa which, of course, has so many people who are pulling tuna out of the sea, shipping them off via Del Monte whose corporate headquarters in Nancy Pelosi's home district. I'm sure it's a coincidence. Don't you think?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis