"They Didn't Know"

With defenders like Richard Cohen, the Media hardly needs critics. Cohen's defense of CNBC:

They didn't cover up the story of financial shenanigans. They didn't even know it existed.

That can be CNBC's (and the Media's) new slogan - "They don't know anything." I think that resolves all the arguments about the Media.

Speaking for me only

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    First it was Curveball and WMDs (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 06:38:02 AM EST
    Now it is financial shenanigans.  I've understood a great deal about the financial shenanigans for quite some time, the information is out there if you really want to know it.  It has been hanging out at the bottom of page 14.  This situation and the media is just like the Iraq War drumming up was for me.  If you wanted to hear what the truth tellers, our expert sociologists, and those in the know had to say the precious few times they were asked just immediately flip to page 14.  If you want to know what Curveball says stick with the headlines and the sound bytes.

    Don't forget (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by BernieO on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:25:46 AM EST
    Whitewater and Wen Ho Lee. Both were brought to you courtesy of NY Times reporter Jeff Gerth who relied on his right wing sources for his bogus information. His editors let him do it no questions asked just like they did Judith Miller. What ever happened to the good old days when a reporter had to have multiple, unrelated sources before they could write these kinds of crucial stories? Ben Bradlee insisted on this during Watergate, which only enhanced the prestige and credibilty of the Post. That practice seems to have completely disappeared with disastrous results.

    OT - I would like to see a post about Obama and Shinsheki's plan to charge private insurers for VA care. I was shocked to hear about it on Rachel Maddow's show last night. I find this particularly disturbing since the VA is known for having the most efficient health care delivery system in the US (Walter Reed is not run by them.) Seems like rather than saving money this would require the VA to hire a lot more employees to deal with all paper work that comes with multiple insurers as well as to fight with insurance companies. Biza.rre


    I went and checked it out (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 12:00:04 PM EST
    because believe me, I have a disabled son and a husband looking at more combat.  What this proposal entails is that for those Vets who also have private insurance coverage outside of their VA benefits, that the VA will seek some reimbursement from their private insurers for medical services delivered.  I'm fine with this, it won't change the standard of care.  I signed onto something similar with Shriners when Josh gets care from them, Shriners provides free care to our beautiful orthoneedy kids.  In Josh's case though he does have insurance and I gave Shriners the authority to bill and seek some reimbursement from Josh's Tricare when they can.  If an insurance company is insuring a person why can't the VA seek some compensation for the medical services they are providing.  If the insurance fights it and wins it changes nothing for the patient, but the government having to fight with insurance companies over what kinds of treatment they will approve?  THAT'S A FIGHT I WANT HAPPENING NOW....YESTERDAY....I WANT SOMEONE LIKE SHINSEKI DISCOVERING WHAT "OTHER" AMERICANS HAVE TO GO THROUGH TO GET THEIR HEALTHCARE NEEDS APPROVED AND COVERED.

    Maybe but a big part of the expense (none / 0) (#44)
    by BernieO on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 05:34:29 PM EST
    for private health providers is the paper work. If the VA has to deal with insurance companies, I would think their overhead would go up a lot giving the enemies of government provided health care more ammunition. I can just heard the free marketers complaining about how the VA's expenses have sharply increased.

    It's not like the media would bother to explain this to people. They haven't even made it clear that the VA is not the same as the people who gave us Walter Reed or that it has become very effective since the 90's when Clinton put professionals in charge. I think this needs to be looked at very carefully.


    Shriners isn't having an issue with extra (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 06:24:06 PM EST
    expense due to paperwork making their efforts more costly than they are worth.  I'm not sure how we can take the figures that the insurance companies are giving us about "their" costs seriously.  I'm sorry but their whole system is set up to justify the large figures they dole out to middlemen papershufflers who do nothing for the general health and welfare of anybody other than themselves.  I think your fearful take on it is one that the insurance companies hope to promote, but it is bull and the best thing that could ever happen to our insurance and healthcare situation is that the providers try to play ring around the denial with Shinseki who will then have a nice long talk with Obama about GREED vs. LIFE AND DEATH.  I welcome this whole situation and the ensuing debates about the insurance ripoff industry with open arms.

    Judith Miller's (none / 0) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 11:59:00 AM EST
    colleague in "journalism", Michael Gordon, is still reporting for the NYT.

    If the media were smart enough (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 07:23:23 AM EST
    If the media were smart enough to understand the financial industry they were supposedly reporting on, they wouldn't be reporters, would they?  They instead would have been IN the financial industry making the big bucks.

    I think we need to modify the old saying that was derogatory of teachers and say this now

    Those who can DO, those who can't REPORT.

    They don't know? Oh yes they do. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by joze46 on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:01:16 AM EST
    That is a laugh; the media, MSNBC, CNBC, is saying they didn't know this money crisis was looming in the background? That is preposterous given the resources they have.

    Please Ladies and Gentleman of America after watching the primary election which was very supported by the three primary networks, the new wave of technology, those very interesting and impressive shuffling of graphics by finger pointing showed obviously a massive connections to contemporary data banks that reveal an electorate in all dimensions especially economic besides political. Hopefully these data banks are not a derivative of the massive illegal wire taping.  

    Do we really know what these resources are; does anyone investigate them, our media? NO, only with the transparency of this blog or others do we approach the truth. You know the mainstream media spends a lot time dancing around avoiding real truth in issues.  

    What kind of bonus is paid to journalist to report free speech treachery, then hide behind the free speech shield and now the popular free speech entertainment proposition, what I am saying is just a joke has turned into a huge realization and shift in the American Lexicon. More over, what is really an outrage is the journalistic proposition to tell Americans what another person is really thinking or saying. At every turn in network discussions these journalist remark something " WITH THAT SAID" while "they" only have a chance to say it go on to tell what some else thinks. Sheesh.  

    From the get go what is striking is some simple actions by Bush when first told about the tragedy of ENRON, how Bush and his administration  played a key part in oppression what went on along with the Media that helped cover up billions in lost money. That is the first flag raised in the current Bush corruption scandal. Which so far Bush and Company is getting away with.  

    As an example this past day listening to Bob Brinker in Money Talks, ABC radio with an unusual expressive personal position about Congressional Legislation that was introduced in 2007. Something to do with the "UP TICK RULE" in the stock market. Please I am a poor boy and very un-knowledgeable about these laws to be able to make money, but out raged that this guy always knew about this rule or law or trick in the stock market, and just now remarks about it. In fact make the claim the insiders are "BEAR RAIDING" the market! Sheesh. After two years to first come out with this. Like that guy Steve Forbes "OH we are loosing money we need to change the rules". Don't play cards these guys. LOL.

    The whole thing is even bigger than AIG which is likely loaded with right wing conservative legal lawyers from Liberty University, this is a good typical "CHENNEY "style raid, AIG is so big you can not govern them they Govern you and me no matter what. This is positioned to the place of criminal action is right in our face; give me all your money. Please this company is so big and so fouled up who is going to risk doing business with this company moving forward. The American electorate saying we want to help all the while getting kick in the derier.

    The mother of all connections and conflicts of interest with likely a hidden gradient to favors that involve insider secrets and actions privy to trillion dollar deals is the knowledge Andrea Mitchell has as being the wife of former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Allen Greenspan. Who, after handing off the most conservative controlled economic department in American government gives Obama and America the biggest chunk of economic misery anyone can have.

    Andrea Mitchell key analyst on MSNBC talking about politics and steering conversation is and has to be the primer Journalistic piece of hypocrisy any in your face era could have. It all reeks of massive corruption beyond comprehension. They, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, know what is happening; they are embedded in this economic catastrophe, just as they were in the war, Ladies and Gentlemen of America they, this media,  brought us here to this point in history. Its up to us to sort it out.              

    I Know Nothing! (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Sweet Sue on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:37:06 AM EST
    Who would have dreamed that the Sergeant Schultz defense would be the new Media mantra?
    May we please have less pundit/opinion shows and more reportage/investigative journalism?
    Of course, hot air is so much cheaper than actual news bureaus and leg men/women.

    Do they also not know how to (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:58:27 AM EST
    actually investigate, ask questions, do research, find out what's going on?  

    Have we come to the point where there is no longer any doubt that CNBC and the rest of them are nothing more than observers?

    Seems so.

    If that's all they are, then maybe the sports division can take over the news, and we can have Al and John and their cohorts simply doing play-by-play, color commentary (useless statistics) and score-keeping.

    Observers and stenographers (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:59:03 AM EST
    You are exactly right.

    I wish the wake-up call hadn't costed 3 trillion dollars, but maybe some good will come of it if they are shamed enough.

    I heart Jon Stewart.


    Truthfully? (none / 0) (#35)
    by sj on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:59:08 AM EST
    I don't think this IS a wake up call.  Don't get me wrong.  It should be, but I doubt it is.  They managed to stay asleep after cheerleading the country into an unnecessary and budget-busting war.  The same players are unlikely to start a new game on their own initiative.

    How about cheerleaders? (none / 0) (#45)
    by BernieO on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 05:35:57 PM EST
    They were a lot more than passive observers, just as during the dot com meltdown. After that happened there was a lot of talk about media responsibility -  that lead to no improvement whatsoever.

    Puppets and drones (none / 0) (#30)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:25:27 AM EST
    Whitewater and zippergate. I often wonder how different the country would be if the media stopped playing with the Republican troublemakers.

    It's not whether the media knew . . . (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by allys gift on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:05:11 AM EST
    it's what they should have known.  They're the media for chrissakes!  They are supposed to be our eyes and ears into any shenanigans and instead they were either incompetent or complicit.  

    But I am actually more disturbed by something else about this whole thing.  Obama, through treasury, gave away hundreds of billions of our money to bad acting banksters and now he's coming in like a knight in shining armour to get back a few hundred million that were misused in bonuses.  I say the whole hundreds of billions were misused by giving it to the criminal banksters in the first place. So when is the Obama hero worship going to turn in to the derision it should have been all along?

    Good question.... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:18:44 AM EST
    it is laughable to think Obama will get kudos if he gets the 165 million back with one hand, while he gave the very same crooks untold billions with the other.

    Untold billions by Obama? (none / 0) (#17)
    by DFLer on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:21:07 AM EST
    Wasn't most of it handed out pre-Obama?

    He 'worked the phones' to make it happen (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:53:49 AM EST
    He is as much to blame as Bush for the first round of TARP.

    Seriously? (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by DFLer on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:04:35 AM EST
    as much to blame as Paulson and Bush?  

    sorry, to say that

    He is as much to blame as Bush for the first round of TARP.
     seems off to me

    ps (1st round...to AIG...wasn't that even more "secret" than the rest of tarp 1?)


    I'm not letting him off the hook on TARP (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:17:21 AM EST
    He had a lot of influence at the time and made it a point to make sure that TARP bill got passed. It would not have gotten passed if he had come out strong against it. Instead, he pushed for it to get passed. That makes him as much to blame as Bush.

    I think you're right and the AIG bill was separate. I don't know what his role was in that, so I did not include that in my TARP condemnation


    I guess I'm not aware of that effort by then (none / 0) (#38)
    by DFLer on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 11:30:42 AM EST
    Senator Obama. If you have some resources for me, I'd be happy to read.

    My first google attempt did point me to a reminder of the week during the campaign that McCain wanted to cancel a debate to attend to the economic crisis in DC. At that time, Sen. Obama choose to stay on the trail. So I'm still not sure of his involvement in pushing the TARP leg.



    He said in an interview, town hall, or debate, (none / 0) (#48)
    by ruffian on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 01:47:43 AM EST
    can't remember which, that he hadn't come to Washington like McCain, but he had been working the phones to get the bill passed.  I'm having trouble finding links to that far back - there has been so much since - but I remember it well since I was so adamantly against TARP at the time and I was hoping Obama would come out against it. He did the opposite.

    Fair point... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:34:11 AM EST
    Make that just the latest multi-billion dollar installments of the Great Defraud...and I tend to think its only the beginning, B.O. and the Central Planners will keep stealin' from the poor to give to the rich for as long as we let them get away with it.  Stay tuned.

    It's true. They don't know. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Pacific John on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:46:12 AM EST
    They don't know because they're too lazy to care.

    As proof, I give you Evan Thomas, editor of Newsweek, a magazine that gave us endless fake scandals in the '90s, but who, in this transcript of a recent radio show, didn't know much of anything - aside of course about his own personal prejudices.

    Warning, if you were at all frustrated by media bias in the primary, don't read this if you have any loose objects nearby.

    In particular, pay attention (none / 0) (#23)
    by Pacific John on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:47:58 AM EST
    ... to Thomas' discussion of why the major media does not cover "money stories." Mind you, he says this with absolutely no sense of irony.

    Sooo funny BTD (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:52:00 AM EST
    That is the best laugh I've had in my week of travel and overtime.

    They don't know anything. Well, that's just great. No wonder I have not even bothered to turn on CNN in my hotel room this week.

    Journalism is pointless ... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:33:40 AM EST
    according to Cohen:

    But the role that Cramer and other financial journalists played was incidental. There was not much they could do, anyway. They do not have subpoena power. They cannot barge into AIG and demand to see the books, and even if they could, they would not have known what they were looking at. The financial instruments that Wall Street firms were both peddling and buying are the functional equivalent of particle physics. To this day, no one knows their true worth.

    I hope Cohen is the first to hang up his hat, and step away from his pointless profession.

    He did that a long time ago (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:36:37 AM EST
    He still collects ... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:40:17 AM EST
    a paycheck.

    Well, WaPo. . . (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 10:44:30 AM EST
    I've been collecting (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by joanneleon on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 12:24:26 PM EST
    stories and articles from around the internet and the online versions of newspapers for the last couple of months.  These stories show that two years ago, there were many people who knew exactly what was going on and were putting it in writing.  I find Richard Cohen's statements to be at best, ignorant and at worst, a blatant lie.

    They did NOT cover it up and (4.25 / 4) (#6)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 07:54:34 AM EST
    they DID know.  I watched them talk about how great it was that companies could leverage cash they way they were doing - they were cheering them on - they were euphoric about every merger and buyout regardless of how over-leveraged companies were in doing these deals - the loved it, reported on it and dreamed daily of a DOW at 50,000.

    Right On! (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:06:21 AM EST
    I watched it too and I saw exactly what you did.  I was a bit hypersensitive because what they did with the Iraq War had a direct and destructive impact on my family and they had learned nothing from what they did there.  As journalists though aren't they supposed to seek out and report on the facts?  But the fact that all this leveraging was extremely risky and totally out of control of late was a fact they just didn't want to focus on too much if at all. Once again they weren't reporting, they were cheerleading and leading people working 40 to 60 hrs a week and dog tired needing a hot supper and a news report of the facts right over a cliff!!!!!!

    They did neglect to report on (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by BernieO on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:31:29 AM EST
    the meeting in April '04 in which the big investment banks asked the SEC to drop the regulation that they hold a specified level of capital against their debt. Paulson was one of the leaders of the banks requesting this. Bear Stearns quickly moved to a very high debt to capital ratio which is what led to their meltdown.

    After a brief meeting the SEC voted unanimously to lift the regulation. According to a recent article in the NY Times no major media outlet covered the meeting  - and that includes the Times.

    Had the media shouted this from the rooftops and explained the potential danger, people would have at least had a chance to complain to their representatives. Had enough people done this, Congress would have acted. Imagine if the same amount of attention had been given to this story as was given to Britney Spears.


    God, everything seemed so swell though (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 11:28:29 AM EST
    and yet how could everything have been that So Swell for this Long?  You are making the long term memory part of my brain ache due to malnutrition!

    What you do not understand is that (none / 0) (#47)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 07:41:17 PM EST
    they thought that having a dollar and leveraging that dollar to being a billion dollars was a GOOD thing.  They would NEVER have explained the potential danger.  They didn't believe that there was any danger.  They covered a story about a client of mine and how they were bought by another company in what turned out to be a bidding war.  They cheered on the irresponsible bidder who had NO cash and derided the bidder who was sensibly willing to pay a price they could actually pay and that was a reflection of the client's potential to make money for them.  The other bidder won of course.  The winning company is not doing well because they have no cash and have bought everything on credit for too high a price.  CNBC though LOVED the big numbers - they did not care if there was real money behind them - it was an orgy for them and if you really paid attention to what they were saying - very little of it made economic sense at the end of the day.

    How could they NOT know?! (none / 0) (#1)
    by nycstray on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 05:24:28 AM EST
    I could see 'possibly' not knowing how 'big' of a disaster this was going to turn into, but beyond that, their little radars should have been going off for quite some time.

    Because they are incompetent (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 05:33:37 AM EST
    Or complicit... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 07:58:44 AM EST
    for all we know they might get kickbacks for selling Wall St's snake-oil.

    when you spend most of the (none / 0) (#12)
    by cpinva on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:44:52 AM EST
    "They don't know anything."

    past 16 years excoriating the clintons and al gore, it doesn't leave time for much else. after all, a bj in the oval office, by a consenting adult, and made up stories about "claiming to have invented the internet" are far more entertaining to the non-human members of the "village", than actual news, which is so "very, very boring dahling".

    i could go on, but why bother. you all already know, and the "villagers" are too unself-aware to recognize themselves.

    hopefully (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:55:00 AM EST
    people will take that admission into consideration when they offer advise in the future.

    This post was linked to by memorandum (none / 0) (#19)
    by Farmboy on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:28:43 AM EST
    The 'bots are following the trail.

    Look, the dangers of deficit spending were known (none / 0) (#27)
    by SeeEmDee on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:59:33 AM EST
    for ages.

    Forty-one years ago, a satire on think-tanks was printed, called "The Report from Iron Mountain' in which the question was asked as to what would happen to American society once the Cold War was ended.

    Although it was intended purely as satire, the author of the book has been largely correct in many of the possibilities, namely a massive economic melt-down that could only be prevented by engaging in equally massive government spending...such as during a (manufactured) war. All other alternatives (Universal Health Care, Universal Housing, etc.) were considered and discarded because the problems would be solved within a generation, and only add to population pressures.

    I repeat, the author of this book made it clear that it was satire...but it proved to be weirdly prescient, as we face many of the problems laid out in that book...which right-wingers feel is actual Gospel, a real product of a Government funded think-tank. It wasn't...but given what we're living through now, it doesn't have to be.

    It's amazing (none / 0) (#36)
    by bocajeff on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 11:21:20 AM EST
    that most of the commentators here 'know' exactly what happened, who was complicit, and why they were all complicit in what was happening.

    But the bottom line of Cohen's piece was that we are all just supposing what happened and that the media had no way of knowing.

    You know what, I don't think we are going to know exactly what happened for a number of years - this situation is too f'd up to figure out in a couple of months....

    The media have the platform from which (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 12:12:07 PM EST
    to ask important and difficult questions; there is power in that, and the media made no use of it.  I mean, what's the point of a media whose response to all of this is, "don't blame us - we didn't know anything, either?"  

    They failed, as far as I'm concerned, on both ends of this rollercoaster ride.  When the market was soaring and record profits were being made and housing prices were exploding and mergers and acquisitions were resulting in mega-corporations, no one ever spent more than a sound-bite here or there wondering how the ride managed to reach these speeds - there was barely any attention being given to why it was that with all that money flying around, the average person's wages had gone down, that this joyride only had seats for a relative few.  

    When the cracks started to form, where were the media?  Were they asking the tough questions?  Of course not.  They were just taking down whatever the administration told them, like the dutiful stenographers they were - and still are.  I remember telling my husband that I sensed the media being thrilled that disaster might be looming, and was sure that they would not use the power of their platform to ask any of the questions that needed answers - they were already too busy looking for ways to spread the gloom and wring as much angst and fear out of the nightly stories as they could.

    With a media this bad, the chances of ever getting the whole story are slim, because all they are going to continue to do is spoon feed us whatever the powers-that-be want us to know or think or believe.  The media no longer protect the people from the powerful; they protect the powerful from ever having to be accountable to the people - and I attribute a lot of that to the coziness that has been allowed to develop between the media and the power-elite over cocktail weenies and jumbo shrimp.  

    Maybe if we had enough decent journalists asking questions and digging for answers, who actually thought that was the most important part of being a journalist, we wouldn't have to engage in as much speculation as we do about what is happening and why.


    But it sure would be nice (none / 0) (#42)
    by KeysDan on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 12:15:47 PM EST
    to know that, at least, someone, somewhere knows what happened and why all our bailout billions will help.  It seems like it is prescribing a wide-spectrum antibiotic before the culture comes back identifying the disease-causing microbe.