Networks Hype Credit Companies Abuse
All three network evening news shows used extreme examples about ‚Äúabusive‚ÄĚ 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.
‚ÄúEvery time the phone would ring it gets hard to breathe and you‚Äôre not sure whether you should even answer it or not,‚ÄĚ said Wannemacher in his testimony.
CBS ‚ÄúEvening News‚ÄĚ reporter Sharyl Attkisson called Wannemacher a ‚Äúvivid example of how quickly credit card debt can spiral out of control.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNightly News‚ÄĚ anchor Campbell Brown said NBC would provide the audience with credit card ‚Äúhorror stories‚ÄĚ as she introduced the segment. Reporter Lisa Myers mentioned Wannemacher and another man who, after missing a payment for the first time, ‚Äúgot hit with a late fee and his interest rate tripled to more than 32 percent.‚ÄĚ
Attkisson‚Äôs 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, ‚Äú[H]e‚Äôs finished with Bank of America,‚ÄĚ before quoting Rolls: ‚ÄúI said ‚Äėto 27.99 percent? Forget it. I‚Äôm closing this account.‚Äô‚ÄĚ