Last year, banks were “too big to fail” and were arm twisted into taking a federal bailout. Now that many of them have repaid the TARP money, the media deems their profits to be a betrayal of the taxpayers.
NBC “Today” host Meredith Vieira began the segment on Goldman Sachs by pitting the average American against the big companies, “While you may be struggling financially these days, happy days appear to be here again for some companies on wall street, and now they are getting set to pay out some big bonuses.”
Correspondent Melissa Francis also continued this storyline in her report. “With the nation’s unemployment rate moving closer to ten percent, a housing market still plagued by foreclosures and households struggling to make ends meet, it might be hard for most Americans to believe that it’s back to business as usual on Wall Street,” she said.
However, Francis did balance the report with an interview with Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management. “Many of these top execs aren’t the bad guys that caused the problems through recklessness,” he explained, “These banks are retaining the talent that we need and that they are competitive on a global basis.”
Matt Lauer wasn’t paying attention though. In his interview with Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC, he expressed the supposed shock and anger of taxpayers: “I think a lot of people are going to be saying wait a second, Goldman Sachs needed 10 billion dollars in federal bailout money a short time ago, and now they are set to record record prices. How did this happen so quickly?”
Lauer didn’t mention that Goldman Sachs has done exactly what it was supposed to. The whole purpose of the bailouts was to allow institutions to make profits once again. Now that the bailed out banks have done so, the mainstream media abuses them for succeeding.
Instead Lauer was incredulous that repaying the TARP money freed institutions from government interference. He asked Ratigan, “Do they have the right to pay their employees anything they want to pay them?” Apparently Lauer has gotten used to the idea of government running companies. Ratigan explained that, the way the system was set up, the government does not have a say in now in how they pay the employees.
In pushing his faux populist outrage, Lauer ignored the larger story: profits are not only good for the top executives receiving bonuses, but also good for the overall US economy, and therefore good for the average taxpayer.
ABC, which had displayed Lauer’s brand of knee-jerk socialism in reporting the story the previous night, had recovered in time for “Good Morning America.” “GMA interviewed Fox Business Network’s Alexis Glick, who explained how the taxpayer and the company need each other: “At the end of the day, though, if they can turn the page, which they are starting to do, it means higher taxes. And for right now, when you look at what's happening to states, to municipalities, to the federal government, that is what we need. So I know it's one of those oxymorons. You kind of feel like you should be really angry about the outrage here. But on the other hand, we need the money. We need them to turn, because we're inextricably linked.”
While ABC got this part of the story correct, it falsely reported that Goldman Sachs wanted and begged for the government bailout. “They came forward, Goldman Sachs and other banks and said, if you don't help us, it's all going down, Alexis,” said Chris Cuomo. “So we said fine, let’s help them.” In fact, many of the banks tried to refuse the bailout money, but were essentially forced to take it.