Saturday, October 04, 2008

Very Sober, Middle-of-the-Road

For a study in contrasts after Monday's rejection of the bailout plan by the House of Representative's, consider Chris Arnold's Tuesday morning talk with Steve Inskeep and then look at Glenn Greenwald's Wednesday post on problems with the bailout.

Arnold opens his piece with condescension "People shouldn't panic. Don't pull your money out of the bank or anything..."
Then Arnold essentially acts like the only possible options are do nothing or pass the bailout plan and uses these vague references to boost his case:
  • "this is not just a Wall Street bailout and many economists are lining up now to say that they're very worried and they say that if the government doesn't do something soon, like within days or a week..."
  • "...some very smart people you know think we're at a tipping point moment, basically, that is what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been talking about..."
  • "I talk to lots of very sober, middle-of-the-road, you know feet-on-the-ground sort of economists all the time and a lot of them are more concerned here than I've ever heard them before. There are a lot of very respected economists who think something has to happen here very quickly."
Interestingly, Arnold doesn't name a single one of these "very smart," "very sober," "very respected" economists - we're just supposed to accept his editorialized judgment. In contrast Greenwald offers lots of names (e.g. Nouriel Roubini, Johnathon G.S. Koppell, Duncan Black, Dean Baker, etc) so you can look them up and decide what you think. Arnold's message on the other hand is pretty obvious: your anger and skepticism about the Paulson plan is ill thought out and uninformed since every self respecting (unnamed) economist knows better.

Update: Arnold did have a better report by Friday morning (by which time passage of the plan was pretty well assured) - one in which he does name three ideological different critics of the plan - George Soros, Glenn Hubbard and Chris Mayr.


Anonymous said...

...some very smart people you know...

very sober, middle-of-the-road, you know..

you know, you know, you know...

Chris Arnold sounds like a Valley Girl, you know?

These guys may be sober now, but they have all been drunk for the past 8 years.

Either that, or asleep.

How else can you explain the fact that they did not see the burst of the housing bubble coming and call for reigning in the banker craziness?

schule said...

the only good work on npr is done by Peter Overby who puts all the rest to shame, as well as many tv and print reporters, when it comes to stories on fiscal policy and influence-peddling in DC -- his piece on the Senate's "tax extenders" was as always the most concise and revealing to be found in a national media outlet.

Anonymous said...

So, yesterday, after all their previous blatant fear mongering and virtually no coverage of the many reputable economists questioning the wisdom of the bailout (Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and others) -- and all the underlying current of insinuation that those opposing the bailout simply did not know what they were talking about -- NPR airs the following:

"Was The Bailout Bill A Good Idea?
Listen: NPR's Adam Davidson Speaks With Ira Glass, Host Of 'This American Life,' About The Merits Of The Bailout

Stephen Chernin, October 4, 2008 · After a dramatic two weeks on Capitol Hill and in the financial markets, President Bush on Friday signed into law a $700 billion bailout bill for Wall Street. Lawmakers acted to pass the legislation amid dire warnings that the U.S. economy was on the verge of collapse. But was the bailout plan a good idea? That's a question many Americans are asking."
///end NPR quote

It's bad enough that these people are using public money and the national airwaves to peddle their fear and propaganda, but then they have the gall to actually present "Questions about the bailout" AFTER the fact --presumably so they can claim later that their coverage of the bailout was "Fair and balanced".

Congress has strictly forbidden the use of public funds for propaganda and NPR should be completely shut down until it complies with the law. Make no mistake: THE PEOPLE AT NPR ARE BREAKING THE LAW.