Too Good to Pass Up


By Mark Karlin

As part of my series on the destructive corporate mainstream media, it’s important to remember that cable television holds a special place.  After all, that is where the most pernicious and dishonest propaganda station disguised as “news” resides: FOX.

But in one 8 1/2 minute segment on “The Daily Show” broadcast of March 4, Jon Stewart eviscerated another cable station, CNBC, as a shill for Wall Street, hyping a failing system to the detriment of its viewer/investors.  What Stewart uncovered (as he so often does) is that the so-called mainstream news doesn’t really generally cover news or investigate: it is a cheerleader for the oligarchy, cheerily misleading the average American into an economic ambush.

CNBC, as Stewart so devastatingly exposes, consistently boosted the Wall Street pirates without exposing what any reporter close to the situation must have known.  Through a combination of fantastical stock market theories (fundamental values don’t matter; it’s just the perception of a stock that counts), suck-up interviews with CEOs of failing companies, affirmations of robust financial health for riverboat gambling financial empires that were about to collapse and become multi-billion dollar welfare recipients of our money — and more boosterism — CNBC (with some rare actual reporter exceptions) has become an advertorial for the looting, unregulated, “default swap,” hedge fund, con artist, gambling ways that have destroyed the fundamentals of the heart of our financial system.

In fact, we urge you to watch the entire March 4th Daily Show because in a half an hour, Stewart provided one of the most concise primers of the Wall Street mess we’ve yet seen.  Because unless you drill down mighty deep into the mainstream corporate press, it is hard to understand how the ushering in of the Reagan era of de-regulation led to major financial institutions playing craps with our economy to the tune of what is now hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in so-called “toxic assets.” 

What is a toxic asset? Essentially a Wall Street gambling debt.

But when you lose money in Vegas, taxpayers don’t bail you out while you get a bonus, unlike Wall Street, where ushering a nation into an economic trash can is rewarded, not punished.

Stewart had as his guest an old style competent New York Times reporter, Joe Nocera, who could actually explain the AIG scandal  (and why no one is being criminally prosecuted begs a lot of questions, but he didn’t say that, we are).  Or should we say, Stewart — in his passionate common sense way — put the AIG disaster into terms that anyone but a dittohead could understand?

Once again, Stewart showed that stations such as CNBC and most of the financial reporting community were not disclosing the real news — the impending implosion of Wall Street — but were essentially acting as PR representatives for the negligent and perhaps criminal financial companies that hurt the average American far more economically than any piddly tax cut can rectify.

Between the War in Iraq and the lack of SEC oversight of Wall Street, the Republican Party’s endless cry of tax cuts is like repeatedly yelling “let them eat cake” as taxpayers are put on the hook for literally tens of thousands of dollars per family to cover the costs of these two fiascos.

And where was the corporate mainstream press — which covers the financial industry with countless “reporters” — while the walls of Wall Street were crumbling?

They were pumping up the oligarchy and their own corporate stock with misleading information and dereliction of duty (with, again, some rare exceptions) in reporting the impending debacle.

That’s why America needs a new media, one responsive to the public, not the self-interest of the corporate ownership of the press.

Thankfully, “The Daily Show” makes so much money that the corporate masters are too greedy to can it. We desperately need Stewart, because he’s a lighthouse of truth cloaked in devasting ironic humor.


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