NBC’s Today Finds the Secret to Happiness: Socialism!

On Monday, NBC’s Today finally discovered the elusive secret to happiness – European-style socialism. While taking a bicycle tour of Copenhagen with National Geographic’s Dan Buettner, correspondent Cynthia McFadden proclaimed: “For 40 years Denmark has ranked as one of the happiest places on Earth....the Danes make life less stressed and more joyful.”

How you might ask? The reporter explained: “Here, no job is less than any other....[garbage man]  Alan Christensen works just five hours a day, but earns the same as a school teacher.” Buettner proclaimed: “Ambition is not celebrated. No matter what you do, you’re no better than anybody else.”

 

 

“And while some studies show the average American clocks in over 50 hours a week,” McFadden observed, Buettner touted how in Denmark “on average they work 37 hours and they have very clear punctuation between their work life and their social life.” He cited one example: “Mothers don’t have to worry so much about child care. In Denmark, you get a year off.” McFadden chimed in: “Paid.”

Buettner praised the supposed socialist utopia: “And there’s a feeling here in Denmark that nothing too bad will ever happen to you.” McFadden hailed: “The Danes trust their government. They pay enormously high taxes.” Buettner cheered: “Every Dane is born with the right to free health care, free education through college, comfortable retirement. They’re free to pursue a job that meets their passions and their interests.”

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At the top of the report, McFadden celebrated the primary mode of transportation in the Danish capital: “Can a bike lane lead to a happier life? In Copenhagen, this is how half the city gets around.” Buettner bragged: “The city of Copenhagen estimates it saves $15 billion a year because people are biking to work instead of driving.”

Following the taped portion of the segment, McFadden lectured: “By the way, here in America, the amount of time we spend in our cars has tripled since the 1970s, and that is not making us happier.” Co-host Savannah Guthrie was so impressed with the fawning puff piece that she jokingly requested “Five tickets to Copenhagen.”

One week earlier, on October 9, CBS This Morning was similarly impressed with the city as correspondent Mo Rocca heralded “Copenhagen’s ambitious plan to become the cleanest energy city in the world” with a massive tax on cars.

The biased segment on Today was brought to viewers by Comcast, Lincoln, and Toyota [no bicycle sponsors].

Here are excerpts from McFadden’s October 16 report:

8:21 AM ET

(...)

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Do you know that about 40% of your happiness is dictated by your genes, about 15% by your environment? But that leaves 45% up to you. And few have that extra happiness figured out like the Danes.

Can a bike lane lead to a happier life? In Copenhagen, this is how half the city gets around.

DAN BUETTNER [NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC]: This city bicycles more than any other city on Earth.

MCFADDEN: I mean, it’s incredible. And everywhere you go, there are bicycles.

BUETTNER: 1.2 million kilometers per day. That’s the equivalent of 35 trips around the world. The city of Copenhagen estimates it saves $15 billion a year because people are biking to work instead of driving.

MCFADDEN: And National Geographic’s Dave Buettner says that gives them something else to talk about. For 40 years Denmark has ranked as one of the happiest places on Earth.

BUETTNER: It’s not a coincidence that people are happy here. The happiest people in the world are interacting face-to-face like we are right now six to seven hours a day. You can’t do that when you’re in your car.

MCFADDEN: But Buettner says bikes are just one way the Danes make life less stressed and more joyful.

BUETTNER: When I think of happiness, I think of three different qualities – how much pleasure you have in your life, how much pride you have with your life, and living with a sense of purpose.

MCFADDEN: Here, no job is less than any other.

BUETTNER: Do you have any hesitation telling people you’re a garbage man?

ALAN CHRISTENSEN: No, no.

BUETTNER: It's a job you can be proud of?

CHRISTENSEN: Yes, yes.

MCFADDEN: Alan Christensen works just five hours a day, but earns the same as a school teacher.

BUETTNER: On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?

CHRISTENSEN: I would say maybe eight, yeah.

BUETTNER: Ambition is not celebrated. No matter what you do, you’re no better than anybody else.

MCFADDEN: And while some studies show the average American clocks in over 50 hours a week.

BUETTNER: Here on average they work 37 hours and they have very clear punctuation between their work life and their social life.

LONA DANG: It’s a very happy community.

MCFADDEN: Lona Dang’s happiness comes with cooking dinner just once a month.

DANG: Dinner’s ready.

MCFADDEN: But on that one night, she has to cook for a hundred people. But the rest of the time she can relax with her family in one of Denmark’s co-housing communities.

BUETTNER: They call it Boffelscape, which is not quite a friend but more than a neighbor. They can count on this support. Mothers don’t have to worry so much about child care. In Denmark, you get a year off.

MCFADDEN: Paid.

BUETTNER: Paid.

MCFADDEN: Paid.

BUETTNER: Do you lock your door?

DANG: During the day?

BUETTNER: Yeah.

DANG: Never.

MCFADDEN: And out on the sidewalk all by herself, there’s a baby.

BUETTNER: You’d be arrested in New York for this. Trust is even more important than wealth when it comes to happiness. And there’s a feeling here in Denmark that nothing too bad will ever happen to you.

MCFADDEN: The Danes trust their government.

BUETTNER: Yeah.

MCFADDEN: They pay enormously high taxes.

BUETTNER: Every Dane is born with the right to free health care, free education through college, comfortable retirement. They’re free to pursue a job that meets their passions and their interests.

(...)

MCFADDEN: By the way, here in America, the amount of time we spend in our cars has tripled since the 1970s, and that is not making us happier.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Wow.

MATT LAUER: Really beautiful place, too.

GUTHRIE: Right. Five tickets to Copenhagen.

(...)

NB Daily Economy Europe NBC Today Video Cynthia McFadden

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