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Cavuto Praises Wal-Mart, Dumps on Buffett and Gates

Reported by Judy - July 3, 2006 -

Neil Cavuto must own a ton of Wal-Mart stock. Why else does he continue to air segments about how wonderful the company is, regardless of whether anything is happening with the company? And why does he hate Warren Buffett and Bill Gates?

Cavuto again used his "business" show "Cavuto on Business" on Saturday (July 1, 2006) to score political points when he opened with a segment asking whether Wal-Mart shoppers will determine the outcome of the November election. It was a typical convoluted Cavuto story peg, allowing him to remind the audience of how great things are under the GOP regime that now runs every aspect of American government.

Cavuto's Republican guests (the majority, of course, since this is Fox News, after all) agreed that Wal-Mart voters love the flag and God and Democrats do not, so therefore Wal-Mart voters will continue to vote for Republicans. Tracy Byrnes, New York Post reporter, suggested low-to-middle income Wal-Mart shoppers may be beaten down by stagnant wages, high gas prices, and the strain of having a family member in the military during time of war and might be ready for a change.

But the real burden of defending Democrats' chances with Wal-Mart voters fell to Bruce Raynor, president of a union called Unite Here. Cavuto never identified what group the union represents, leaving the impression that it might represent Wal-Mart workers and that therefore Raynor's views could be discounted, but its website says it represents hotel workers and textile workers.

Raynor talked about the lack of an increase in the minimum wage and the decline of high-paid manufacturing jobs, and as he was suggesting lower-income voters might be ready for a change, Cavuto interrupted him. "Are you a Democrat?" he wanted to know, adding he "just wanted to know where you are coming from."

Cavuto didn't ask the party affiliation of Ben Stein or Herman Cain or Charles Payne. Why ask Raynor? Because he wanted to undermine Raynor's credibility, signalling to the viewer to disregard anything that Raynor says because it is partisan while everybody else is objective and pure.

Raynor replied that he was, but he should have added, "And what about you, Neil, are you a Republican?"

Later on, when Raynor was talking about health insurance, retirement plans, and other worker benefits, Cavuto interrupted Raynor again, asking, "What's your complaint with Wal-Mart specifically?" A strange question, because Raynor was being asked how Wal-Mart shoppers might vote, not about how the company treats its workers. Cavuto couldn't even keep track of what the topic was because its story peg was so contrived.

But with Cavuto, sooner or later it always come back to Wal-Mart. Which leads me to ask: Cavuto, how much stock do you own in Wal-Mart? Just want to know where you are coming from.

Next, Cavuto had to beat up on Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor guru who gave the bulk of his wealth to Bill and Melinda Gates' foundations last week. Cavuto claimed that it wasn't fair for Buffett to give the money to charity and not have to pay taxes on it, while if he left it to his heirs, the government would tax it. Buffett and Gates, of course, oppose eliminating the inheritance tax, as does Cavuto guest Ben Stein. But Cavuto's spin was that if Buffett and Gates "love the government so much" they should turn their fortunes over to the government instead of charities. (As Byrnes pointed out, for the average person, the inheritance tax is not an issue since the first $3.5 million is exempt from taxes.)

He asked the question of a guy named "Morris." Cavuto did not introduce him further, leaving that to the chyron, which unfortunately displayed the Fox News email address. Not until the segment with "Morris" was almost done did the screen identify him as Morris Reid, Democratic strategist. Sloppy piece of work there. Might Cavuto and his gang be some of those who are failing to display the "launch intensity" that Roger Ailes is looking for?

Meanwhile, Cavuto, as did Brenda Buttner before him, ignored the big story breaking regarding a major American industry -- the proposed alliance between General Motors, the French auto maker Renault, and Nissan. One of Buttner's guests mentioned it in passing, but neither of these two financial shows thought it was worth discussing, preferring to keep up Fox News' week-long crusade against The New York Times (in Buttner's case) or their love-affair with Wal-Mart (in Cavuto's case).

Why does the auto industry get such short shift on Fox News, week after week? Could it be that Fox News actually hates people who makes things in America instead of importing them? Or could it be that Cavuto just doesn't own any stock in GM?