Friday, February 20, 2009

Videos for thought - 1

During the past year or so of economic media-watching in the United States, it has been possible to imagine oneself as being in an oppressive state with media controls where all widely-followed news and commentary toes the government line. Most reporting on the federal government's proposed interventions in the economy has had a tone on fatalism and inevitability - much like weather reports.

Near the beginning of his first term, George Bush was able to thrust the Afghanistan and Iraq wars upon America by playing up the sense of urgency with plain old fear-mongering. Obviously, no lessons were learnt, because he repeated that act near the end of his second term with the bank bailout, and Barrack Obama has followed in his footsteps. To avoid sounding unpatriotic or foolish, or both, the mainstream media has steered clear of any kind of hard questioning of these actions, all of which have been approved hastily but have profound long-term consequences which are clearly undetermined.

Around the time of the first bailout, I stopped expecting any potent inputs from mainstream commentators, given the pathetic reaction to the proposed plan. Which is why I was completely blown by CNBC's Rick Santelli's much-discussed commentary about the mortgage bailout (though it now comes to my attention that Santelli was as critical of the 2008 bailout too - my excuse is I dont watch any CNBC). If you haven't seen it yet, do so now:

Unfortunately, instead of responding to Santelli's arguments, the White House decided to delegitimize his persona . Said House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:
“I also think that it’s tremendously important that for people who rant on cable television – to be responsible and understand what it is they’re talking about. I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn’t know what he’s talking about...”
Did someone say hope, change, transparency?

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