CBS Didn’t Do Homework on Teacher’s Gas Price Story

Continuing her "Eye on the Road" series, CBS’s Sharyn Alfonsi showcased a Washington, D.C.-area teacher who she says can’t afford her commute due to rising gas prices.

But Alfonsi didn’t do her homework. Her featured teacher is a retired Navy lawyer who said in 2003 that she could only afford working as a Catholic school teacher because of her military pension. What Alfonsi didn’t say was that teacher Bonnie McGann made a conscious choice to earn less so she could give back to her church.

"This was the area where I could afford a home," McGann informed Alfonsi’s viewers on the May 4 "Evening News." The CBS correspondent added that McGann’s problem was the cost of the commute. "It’s a burden for me now. It’s something that I am unable to absorb," McGann added.

The picture Alfonsi painted was incomplete. McGann is a retired Navy Judge Advocate who says she went into teaching in Catholic schools for the emotional and spiritual reward of the experience. She could find higher pay in a law career or public school teaching. McGann, an alumna of Rowan University also holds a JD from from Cal Western, and a Masters of Education from Marymount University.

"I was only able to consider teaching in Catholic schools because I had a military retirement income," McGann, then the incoming principal at a Winchester, Va. Catholic school, was quoted in the December 2003 MUToday, a Marymount University publication in December 2003. MUToday added that "even coupling her teacher’s salary with her retirement pay did not match" her Navy income but that McGann cited a "desire to give back to the Church" and felt that the “Holy Spirit guided" her into teaching rather than a civilian law practice.

While Alfonsi claimed in her report that McGann can’t afford $1,000 more per year in gas costs, in 2003 the then-school principal donated $1,600 to 2004 perennial third-party presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche in two-month time span in 2003, according to CampaignMoney.com.       

[cross-posted to BusinessandMedia.org]


Sign Up