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August 20, 2007

CNBC's Burnett Atones for Toxic Toy Remarks, Almost

By Sandy Sand

Never apologizing for what she said about toxic toys, Erin Burnett softened her statements about toxic toys from China. She told an awful truth about the stark realities of our trade policies with the Chinese in a pitiless manner. A little anger at both the American and Chinese governments would have helped her case.


Looking uncomfortable in her guest was more like doing a never-ending series of tiny up and down bounces...CNBC's Erin Burnett made her regular Friday night appearance on Hardball. The bobbing and cockeyed smile, I'm guessing, was knowing that in the second half of the interview Chris Mathews was going to launch into the criticism she took after her appearance on his show last Friday night. I wrote about that appearance (CNBC: Poisoned Goods Worth the Lower Cost, Op-ed 8/15), making wild speculations as to what kind of person Burnett is that she could in essence say: What do they want? Cheap and safe? If you want cheap toys for you children don't expect them to safe; that will drive up the price. It was as if she were saying the price is uber alles, and cheap is more important than your kid chowing down on leaded paint or breaking his three-year-old teeth by chomping on B-B magnets. BTW, swallow enough B-B magnets and they join forces causing intestinal blockage. Omigawd that must hurt! And, it's dangerous. Just thinking about it gives me intestinal utsies. Burnett said on the August 10th Hardball, "You know, if China were to revalue its currency or China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up, and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up, too. So I would say China is our greatest friend right now." Many people took umbrage at that. So many in fact, that the second half of the interview began with Matthews (no flirting like last week) saying that they should comment on the negative comments commenters had made about her comments on the previous week's show. Here's where the nervous bouncing began to slow down, and the peculiar smile became more genuine. For all I know, she's always bouncingly nervous on air. I'd never seen her before tonight, and had only read what she said on the 8/10 Hardball. One of the worst parts, I liked Burnett in spite of the callous, uncaring way she came off with her previous statements. She's attractive, enthusiastic about her business reporting, and perky -- but not too perky. Like Lou Grant of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show", I hate perky. She looks like the kind of woman it might be fun to have lunch with or go shopping. She tried, she really tried to tame down what she said the previous week, but it still came out pretty much the same. It went something like: What do you expect? Cheap is cheap, and if you want the Chinese to use the same standards in their manufacturing as we do in ours, then you're going to have to pay for it. No kidding. Golly gee. Too much to expect that the Chinese can't figure out a way to make safe toys that would only up the ante a penny or two per toy. What crap! They don't pay decent wages; couldn't they pop for unleaded paint? I'm wondering why anybody, any where on Earth is still making paint with lead in it. I'm pretty sure unleaded paint formulas aren't state secrets, and I can't imagine that they are that more expensive to produce than the leaded variety. Burnett gave it the old college try. She gets a point and a half for that. She was trying to tell a truth; a very ugly truth. Unfortunately, she didn't choose her words carefully the first time around. Even the second time around the words were pretty much the same with the same meaning, buy crap...get crap. Only this time she left out the "poisoned" part. Even though she and Matthews ran down the litany of toxic Chinese products that have been recalled during the last month or two, the most recent being baby bibs pulled off the shelves by Toy R Us, because of their lead content. Again with the lead? What's with the lead? Don't we send tons of plastic to China to be recycled? Why don't they use that in their products? As far as I know it's lead-free. At one point Burnett said "China is our greatest friend." No they're not! They hate us. They hate our children. They hate our pets. They make poisoned products for both, and they don't give a damn. They should give a damn. Maybe two or three damns. If they poison all of us, who will be left to buy their cheap crap? But, I digress. So, after talking about all the recalled tainted products, Burnett -- there goes the smile again -- said, of course, we don't want our children to be poisoned by or play with dangerous toys. No kidding. Of course, we don't. But "We" get angry. We question. We...I would like to know why she showed no anger. She's on Hardball to give her opinion. Anger's an opinion...sort of. No anger with the Chinese. No anger with our government for allowing the Chinese to own a high percentage of our debt. No anger at our government for allowing, in the past, and continuing to allow China to send us their cheap toxic goods and shoddy, and continue their dangerous manufacturing practices. No anger that maybe the reason our government doesn't clamp down on the Chinese is because they've stupidly allow them to own us and are afraid of fiscal retribution. No anger that our official are sitting around shiny conference tables in D.C., scratching their heads with one hand, while the fingers on their other hand are up their butts, trying to figure out what to do. No anger at Matell for not announcing immediately that besides recalling the toxic toys they were going to recall the slave labor, and bring the jobs home where they belong. No anger anywhere. Well, maybe I have enough anger for both of us.

Authors Bio:
Sandy Sand began her writing career while raising three children and doing public relations work for Women's American ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training). That led to a job as a reporter for the San Fernando Valley Chronicle, a weekly publication in Canoga Park, California. In conjunction with the Chronicle, she broadcast a tri-weekly, 10-minute newscast for KGOE AM. Following the closure of the Chronicle, Sand became the editor of the Tolucan Times and Canyon Crier newspapers in Burbank. She is currently a guest columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News and contributor to