Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
Interesting story by Pam Martens and Russ Martens in Wall Street on Parade:
Last week we wrote about the invisible hand’s removal of a negative paragraph on the financial industry from the Pope’s speech before a joint session of Congress and some bizarre shenanigans with Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s highly anticipated speech in Amherst, Massachusetts. This past Saturday, Adam Posen, the President of a powerful think tank, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, delivered a speech at a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, calling the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) “a mess.” That speech has gone missing from online access.
FSOC is the body created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 to reassure the American people that Wall Street would never again be able to take the U.S. economy, the financial system, and the housing market to the cleaners and then get a multi-trillion dollar bailout. FSOC is chaired by the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew (an alumnus of the biggest bailout recipient, Citigroup), along with the heads of every other major U.S. financial regulator.
According to Bloomberg Business, in his conference remarks on Saturday, Posen also said that what individual financial institutions are able to do with discretion from regulators was “huge.” (That two of the mega banks in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, admitted to criminal felony counts in May for rigging foreign currency markets along with other banks and that serial findings of collusion among the mega banks in multiple markets has now achieved epic dimensions, Posen’s comments would hardly seem an overstatement.)
The New York Times added more gravity to Posen’s remarks with this quote from him at the Saturday conference: “The current U.S. institutional setup is likely to fail in a crisis and will do less to prevent a crisis than it should, and we are likely to suffer from this.”
There are two places one would expect to find such a remarkably candid speech. At the official conference site where other speeches are posted or at Dr. Posen’s official pageof speeches and publications at the Peterson Institute. We could not find the speech at either site, nor could we find it elsewhere on the Internet.
The speech by the controversial President of the New York Fed, William (Bill) Dudley, which was also delivered at the conference and throws a lot of cold water on Posen’s positions, is readily available just where one would expect it to be.
Dudley, who was himself the subject of a Senate hearing last November for hubristic regulation, offered these comforting words to the conference audience: . . .
A very interesting article that is also, I think, very important to read. Julie DiCaro reports in Sports Illustrated:
Editor’s Note: The following contains offensive, vulgar language used to address an important but sensitive subject matter. Reader discretion is advised.
The first time I was ever called a “cunt,” at least to my “face,” was on a sports blog in 2006. The comment that evoked the slur had nothing to do with the guy who aimed it at me. I had disagreed—politely—with something he had said about the Cubs’ starting lineup, and that prompted a reply along the lines of “Why would you bat Todd Walker second, you filthy cunt?” (If I recall correctly, it was because Walker had an OPS of almost .900 in spring training, but I digress.)
The offender had often debated lineups with other posters on the site, whose audience was almost all male. While I didn’t expect him to send me flowers for offering a different opinion, I certainly didn’t anticipate that kind of response. The site moderator quickly rebuked the offender and deleted the comment, but the message got through loud and clear: “You may not share your sports opinion while, at the same time, being a woman.”
Nine years later, in the midst of the Patrick Kane rape investigation, I found myself working from home Friday, having received a threat on Twitter that hit a little too close to home.
As an anchor for a prominent Chicago sports radio station, I understand my opinions are much more open to commentary now than they were 10 years ago, but this particular tweet contained personal details, and I simply did not feel entirely safe walking to my office. It didn’t help matters that I, like far too many women, am a rape victim, but I wasn’t taking any chances with my safety.
That threatening tweet, like the “cunt” comment nine years ago, was deleted immediately, but other unsettling remarks remained: . . .
A crusty Down Easter made a purchase at a hardware store and was staring hard at the change he was given. The clerk asked, “That’s the correct change, isn’t it?” The grudging reply was “Just barely.”
I was reminded of this by how the NY Times reported a recent story on Hillary Clinton, who is (too) frequently the object of animus from the Times.
The “story,” if you can call it that, is that a Clinton adviser did exactly the proper thing and removed herself from a discussion to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
That’s a news story? If the Times thinks that’s a story, then I have a great news story for them about how a bus full of people avoided crashing into a train!!! The bus came to a stop at the barrier as the train rushed by. Upwards of 50 people might have been killed! The bus was only 20 feet from the train!
That’s the sort of thing that passes for news at the NY Times these days.
The Times devoted 652 words to telling us that a conflict of interest did not arise. Was it a slow news day? Is it a way of breaking in reporters gently: first they report on things that did not happen and then later, as they gain experience, they report on things that do happen?
I think it’s just a particularly naked display of the Times’ traditional Clinton hatred—cf. Whitewater…
Kevin Drum has some good observations on the GOP debates:
- An incomplete list of obvious lies told by the candidates. “The final score is: Trump 6, Fiorina 3, Christie 2, Cruz 2, Paul 1, Huckabee 1, and Carson 1.”
- Jake Tapper’s Trump obsession—to the exclusion of finding out what candidates would do as president.
Very interesting story by Chava Gourarie in the Columbia Journalism Review: a reporter found that there were 4,000 untested rape kits in Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland). Instead of stonewalling, the DA and other public officials leapt into action to test the kits before the 20-year statute of limitations ran out. As a result, 100 rapists have been sent to prison. One interesting finding: one-third of rapes reported turn out to be the work of serials rapists.
The entire article is worth reading. It shows what a responsive government (and good journalism) can accomplish. It begins:
On a recent Tuesday morning, members of the DNA Cold Case task force in Cleveland, Ohio, gathered for their weekly meeting. The conference room filled with detectives, prosecutors, a crime analyst, several victim advocates—and one journalist. Rachel Dissell is a reporter for The Plain Dealer, one of two who first uncovered and wrote about neglected rape kits at the Cleveland Police Department in 2010. Dissell has been covering the ongoing story ever since.
The meeting started as it usually does with “all hands on deck” cases—the ones running up against the statute of limitations—then moved to other open investigations. Cleveland is not the first city to tackle a rape kit backlog, but it is one of the only municipalities to investigate every case so doggedly. Since 2011, when the city began sending rape kits to the state’s crime lab, almost all of its 4,000 kits have been tested; of these, over 1,600 contained usable DNA. Three hundred and fifty cases have led to grand jury indictments, and as of this month, over 100 rapists have been convicted, some of multiple rapes.
Timothy McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor who created and oversees the rape kit task force, attributed its existence to Dissell and her former reporting partner, Leila Atassi. “Rachel and her partner started this,” McGinty told CJR. “They are really the reason we are where we are.”
It’s an exemplary instance of local reporting, responsive government officials, and public support coming together to make a community safer. Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, calls Dissell’s work an “unusually positive use of investigative reporting.”
The story has reverberated beyond Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Ohio passed a law in March requiring every police department in the state to submit untested rape kits to the lab by next spring. Going forward, all kits must be tested within 30 days. Cleveland’s story is also contributing to burgeoning national awareness of how many rape kits remain unexamined, and the potential gold mine they represent; once tested, they can solve old and ongoing cases while providing a wealth of data on sexual assault.
One stunning finding that emerged from Cleveland’s investigations is that as many as a third of reported rapes were perpetrated by a serial offender, a much higher proportion than officials anticipated. “I’ve been in this business for 43 years and I thought I knew I something about it,” says McGinty, who guessed about 15% would be attributable to serial offenders. “I was astonished.”
The implications are tremendous. It means that every unsolved case is even more likely to be another rape waiting to happen, and that removing even a single rapist from the street eliminates an ongoing threat.
Shapiro says that one of the most enlightening things about Dissell and Atassi’s reporting was the way it focused attention on the pattern of repeat offenders. . .
lmost 15 years have passed since I warned about media “balance” that involved systematically abdicating the journalistic duty of informing readers about simple matters of fact. As I said way back when,
If a presidential candidate were to declare that the earth is flat, you would be sure to see a news analysis under the headline ”Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.” After all, the earth isn’t perfectly spherical.
So have things improved? In some ways, they may have gotten even worse. These days, media balance often seems to involve retroactively rewriting history to avoid telling readers that one side of a policy debate got things completely wrong.
In particular, when you see reports on monetary disputes, you often see characterizations of what the Fed’s right-wing critics have been saying that go something like this, in the WaPo:
Among the criticisms: The Fed was keeping interest rates artificially low and fueling speculative bubbles. The helicopter-drop of money known as quantitative easing did little more than inflate stock markets and fund Washington’s deficit spending. The bailout of big banks left them bigger than ever.
Um, no. The people who gathered at the anti-Jackson-Hole eventweren’t warning about bubbles and too-big-to-fail. They warned, in apocalyptic terms, that runaway inflation was just around the corner. Here’s Ron Paul; here’s Peter Schiff.
Why would a reporter credit the Fed’s critics with warnings they didn’t give, and fail to mention what they actually said? The answer, pretty obviously, is that if you were to say “Ron Paul has been predicting runaway inflation ever since the Fed began its expansionary policies”, that would make it clear that he has been completely wrong. And conveying that truth — even as a matter of simple factual reporting — is apparently viewed as taking sides.
So what we get instead is a whitewashing of the intellectual history, in which Fed critics are portrayed as making arguments that haven’t been shown to be ridiculous. It’s a pretty sorry spectacle.