It seems like only yesterday when Enron and Worldcom collapsed. Throughout these ordeals our national media labored long and hard to paint Worldcom's Bernie Ebbers as the face of Capitalism Corrupted while connecting the dots between President Bush and Enron's "Kenny Boy" Lay, in the effort to demonstrate that corruption in action.
Now it is not a couple of business behemoths in trouble; it's the entire economy that is teetering over a credit crisis brought on in part by corrupt government-sponsored enterprises and liberal politicians. So where are those same journalists now?
They're out there finding fault only with the evil private sector. The mushrooming federal government and the stewards of its never-ending expansion cannot be questioned.
Take, for example, CBS's "60 Minutes," with a Steve Kroft report that blamed the entire debacle on something called credit default swaps. Kroft couldn't find even a single precious CBS minute to focus on Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or its most powerful Democratic supporters in Congress like Rep. Barney Frank or Sen. Chris Dodd, or the biggest recipients of their corporate campaign largesse, the second largest being a certain fellow from Illinois currently running for the presidency of the United States.
Financial expert James Grant spun it exactly the way CBS and the Democrats (or am I repeating myself?) wanted, a focus on Wall Street crooks. "I will call it a criminal neglect and incompetence, the people at the top of these firms chose to look away, to take more risk, to enrich themselves and to put the shareholders and indeed the country itself, ultimately the country's economy, at risk; and it is truly not only a shame, it's a crime."
You need only change a couple of words in that statement, and you echo precisely what millions of Americans believe about their elected officials right now.
Steve Kroft concluded: "We requested interviews with top executives at Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and AIG. They all declined." So why didn't CBS request any interviews with top executives at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Because doing that would step on a few media toes.
It would have been enjoyable to see CBS grilling Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, one of the profligate "Kenny Boy" figures in the current fiasco. The New York Post reported employees called his mansion "Mudd Manor," where he still resides, "an opulent Washington, D.C. mansion replete with expansive gardens, servants' quarters and a home theater." He's the son of longtime CBS and NBC anchor Roger Mudd.