In their coverage Monday night of the debt crisis in Greece, ABC and NBC refused to label the current Greek government as socialist, far-left, or even left-wing with ABC neglecting to even explain why Greece has found itself in such a precarious position as they stand to possibly default on their billions of dollars in debt and/or leave the Eurozone.
On NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt reported the situation as “troubling news on Wall Street” Monday as “a long-running economic crisis” in Greece “is reaching critical mass” with it “teetering on the brink of bankruptcy right now.”
In Athens, correspondent Kerry Sanders characterized the southeastern European nation as being “on the brink and angry at the European Union” for simply “demanding a $1.8 billion loan payment due tomorrow.”
As for why the country’s in dire straits, Sanders put it in rather simple terms, but failed to point out the role voters themselves have played in repeatedly elected governments that have neglected to fully address the problem:
This crisis has been building for years. Greece living beyond its means. European lenders demanding harsh austerity measures, but today, with long lines and high anxiety, engineers, office workers, real people say they fear politicians are ruining the future for the next generation.
When it came to covering this on ABC’s World News Tonight, Greece was almost an afterthought in its own segment as the focus was more devoted to the effect that the crisis has had on American stocks and 401(k)s.
Fill-in anchor Amy Robach began the one-minute-and-16-second segment by telling viewers that she didn’t have “good news, unfortunately, tonight for American 401(k)s” with “Wall Street in a freefall....[s]parked by jitters overseas, [and] Greece on the brink of bankruptcy.” Robach then brought in chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and told her that “everyone wants to know what this means for Americans' 401(k)s.”
Jarvis responded that people should expect “more volatility ahead at least until we have some sort of resolution on Greece,” but urged viewers to “to keep this all in perspective” since “[o]ur market is still near all-time highs and even after today's declines, most of those retirement savings accounts, Amy, most of them are basically flat for the year.”
In contrast to both networks, the CBS Evening News offered both the most coverage and the only label for the Greek government. Prior to a report from foreign correspondent Holly Williams, anchor Scott Pelley explained, in part, that “[f]inancial markets today slipped on Greece and the uncertainty of what will happen when that country defaults on its debts, likely tomorrow.”
Filing from Greece, Williams explained that “Greece’s economy never recovered” from the global financial crisis of 2008 despite two bailouts that’s added up to “$250 billion of debt, including nearly $2 billion due tomorrow, which it cannot pay.”
It was then that Williams brought up the current Greek government that she labeled as being “left-wing”:
In January, Greece elected a left-wing government that promised to renegotiate with foreign creditors, but instead of getting a better deal, on Friday, Greek officials walked out of talks to extend the bailout, signaling they'd rather default on the country's loans than accept more cutbacks. If Greece votes no to the terms of the bailout in the referendum on Sunday, it could then default on a series of loans, bringing more hardship to Greece and even forcing the country to leave the single European currency.
The relevant portion of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on June 29 can be found below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
June 29, 2015
6:33 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Debt Crisis]
SCOTT PELLEY: Financial markets today slipped on Greece and the uncertainty of what will happen when that country defaults on its debts, likely tomorrow. The Dow lost 350 points, about 2 percent. The S&P was down more than 2 percent, as was the NASDAQ. Greeks will vote this weekend on whether to accept strict austerity in exchange for a bailout or drop the euro as their currency, something that has never happened in Europe before. Holly Williams reports tonight from Athens.
HOLLY WILLIAMS: For six years, Greeks have had their taxes raised and their pensions slashed, and once again today, they took their anger to the streets of Athens.
WILLIAMS: As Greece teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, some have panicked, withdrawing $1.5 billion from their accounts since Friday. The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed that nobody would lose their savings and called for calm, but the government was so worried there could be a run on the banks, it ordered them to shut for a week and limited withdrawals to just $70 a day. Hit hard by the financial crisis of 2008, Greece's economy never recovered, and after two financial bailouts, it’s drowning in more than $250 billion of debt, including nearly $2 billion due tomorrow, which it cannot pay. In January, Greece elected a left-wing government that promised to renegotiate with foreign creditors, but instead of getting a better deal, on Friday, Greek officials walked out of talks to extend the bailout, signaling they'd rather default on the country's loans than accept more cutbacks. If Greece votes no to the terms of the bailout in the referendum on Sunday, it could then default on a series of loans, bringing more hardship to Greece and even forcing the country to leave the single European currency. That's never happened before in Europe, Scott, and just the fear of it spooked international markets today.
PELLEY: Moving into unknown territory. Holly Williams reporting for us from Athens. Holly, thank you.