Throughout 2008, Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), was attacked as being culpable for the financial crisis. Adam Lashinsky of Fortune magazine, in an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Cavuto on Business" June 21, 2008, predicted the attacks "won't stop until they do a perp walk with Angelo Mozilo - the CEO of Countrywide."
A year later, a report on ABC's June 4 "World News with Charles Gibson" is seemingly championing that cause. Before a single criminal charge has even been filed, senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas was already showing footage of jail cells. Thomas blamed Mozilo for being the "catalyst" of the housing crisis.
"Investigators say Mozilo was selling $140 million in stock as Countrywide imploded," Thomas said. "To many, Mozilo, known for his deep tan and aggressive style, was the king of subprime mortgages - those risky loans that were the catalyst for the housing meltdown. Mozilo, the son of a butcher from The Bronx, has always maintained publicly that he's never misled anybody."
During a story suggesting that Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of the mortgage company Countrywide, is unworthy of his millions of dollars and perhaps enjoys too much time lying in the sun, ABC's Dan Harris, possibly not picking up on the former CEO's Italian ethnicity which could be the source of his skin's dark complexion, remarked that Mozilo's "deeply tanned face" could become the "face of the mortgage mess." The story ran on Friday's World News
In a class-warfare driven media, where the "haves" are often pitted against "have-nots," you would think an outgoing CEO giving up $37.5 million in pay would be celebrated.
Not quite. CNN's "American Morning" didn't think it was quite good enough when Countrywide Financial's Angelo Mozilo forfeited $37.5 million in severance pay because he said he felt it was the "right thing to do."
"It's another disconnect with Main Street," "American Morning" anchor Kiran Chetry said Jan. 28, 2008. "Because most people don't get rewarded when things go wrong at their job, and this is what we see with these CEOs."
"Over and over and over again," CNN's personal finance editor Gerri Willis added.
Dan Gainor, director of the MRC’s Business & Media Institute, appeared today on the new Fox Business channel. During the 3 o’clock hour of ‘Fox Business Live,’ Gainor contributed to the discussion of the media’s recent economic coverage on a segment called ‘Blasting Biz .’