Networks Hype Credit Companies Abuse

     All three network evening news shows used extreme examples about “abusive” credit card company practices on March 7, but only one even suggested cardholders should make responsible choices.


     ABC, CBS and NBC evening broadcasts all mentioned Wesley Wannemacher, a consumer who testified before Congress. According to the broadcasts, Wannemacher charged $3,200 on a Chase credit card five years ago, but because of interest and fees that turned into a debt of $10,700.


     “Every time the phone would ring it gets hard to breathe and you’re not sure whether you should even answer it or not,” said Wannemacher in his testimony.


     CBS “Evening News” reporter Sharyl Attkisson called Wannemacher a “vivid example of how quickly credit card debt can spiral out of control.”


     “Nightly News” anchor Campbell Brown said NBC would provide the audience with credit card “horror stories” as she introduced the segment. Reporter Lisa Myers mentioned Wannemacher and another man who, after missing a payment for the first time, “got hit with a late fee and his interest rate tripled to more than 32 percent.”


     Attkisson’s CBS report was the only segment that brought up personal responsibility in credit card use. Bob Rolls charged $5,000 on a home improvement credit card, but when that happened he was notified that his Bank of America interest rate would go up to 27.99 percent.


     Near the end of the report, Attkisson said, “[H]e’s finished with Bank of America,” before quoting Rolls: “I said ‘to 27.99 percent? Forget it. I’m closing this account.’”

Julia A. Seymour's picture

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