"Sole expert commentator Marvin Goodfriend is correctly identified as a Carnegie Mellon economics professor, but NPR omits the fact that he directs the market-oriented Gailliot Center for Public Policy. According to the Carnegie Mellon website 'the center's goal is to develop original and pragmatic solutions to public policy problems that limit government intervention and allow markets and the private sector to evolve and adapt.'"I've not posted much on NPR's coverage of the subprime/ credit/ investment/ banking mess because - in spite of my suspicions that I'm being snookered by NPR's coverage - my basic knowledge of the economics involved is pretty limited. But the reader's letter to NPR got me wondering who does NPR turn to for "explanations" of the mess? A brief glance at the stories of late reveals that for the most part, the experts are people involved in the banking industry on both the private and government sides (and often both!):
(Weekend Edition Saturday 3-22-08) "Over the past week, the Federal Reserve has made a serious of unprecedented moves to shore up confidence in the shaken investment community. Former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder explains what the moves mean for taxpayers and the rest of the economy."
(All Things Considered, 3-20-08) "Keeping up with the fast pace of recent economic news and understanding the ramifications of this week's developments is no easy task. Laurence Meyer, vice chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, talks with Michele Norris, Robert Siegel and Adam Davidson."
(All Things Considered, 3-21-08) "After a busy week at the Federal Reserve -- assisting with JP Morgan Chase's takeover of Bear Stearns and allowing big investment houses to get emergency loans directly from the central bank -- how does the Fed chief rate? Yale economist Robert James Shiller, Smith Moore analyst Juli Niemann with Noah Adams."
So it goes.
As I've written before, I don't think there's a problem interviewing some of these people who are insiders, but where is a historical perspective challenging the deregulation champions of the 80s and 90s [we hear from Rubin but not from Reich]? are the left leaning critics of US banking/investment policies? I heard Dean Baker once on Morning Edition, but why not more Krugman, Weisbrot, or even Danny Schecter who's been warning about a credit crisis for a long time?
Doesn't it seem like this current economic crisis would be the time to have a far ranging, in-depth debate and look at how wealth is generated in this country and who benefits and who loses? Unfortunately, NPR won't be the place where that happens.