How can we publicize the LIBOR scandal?
As I write, I'm looking at the Memeorandum
news aggregation site, which is supposed to be a place where both righties and lefties can check out the latest headlines. Trouble is, the right sets the agenda. The left is allowed a voice, but only when speaking in response. Liberals are never allowed to say: "Screw that
unimportant crap. We need to talk about this
Granted, right now Memeorandum offers a link to a story on Salon by Jonathan Krohn
, the conservative wunderkind who has wandered off the right-wing reservation. Krohn, still in his teens, is a born writer, and I hope to follow his work even if he makes another right turn. I think he'll one day find that the best position is neither left nor right but one that defies standard topography.
I'm glad that Memeorandum links to Krohn. But let's face it -- this is an easy story for reactionaries to react against. Hate hate hate
; burn the heretic; it's all a conspiracy by Evil Soros. As Krohn says:
I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller, for instance, wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I deserved criticism because I wear “thick-rimmed glasses” and I like Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why don’t they just call me “four-eyes”?
Good stuff, this. But even young Krohn would probably admit that his tale, instructive as it is, doesn't have quite the resonance of the LIBOR scandal.
Matt Taibbi has been writing amazing columns
about this latest and greatest Great Bank Robbery. This scandal goes right to the top
-- at least, to the top of the British government, and perhaps to our own:
This Libor-manipulation story grows crazier with each passing minute. We have officially disappeared now down the rabbit-hole of the international financial oligarchy.
Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond is testifying before parliament in London today, and that's sure to bring some shocking moments. But there's already been one huge stunner. In advance of that testimony, Barclays released an email from October 29, 2008, written by Diamond to then-Chairman John Varley and COO Jerry del Messier (who also stepped down yesterday). The email from the CEO to the other two senior Barclays execs purports to detail the content of the conversation Diamond had with Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker that same day.
In the email, Diamond essentially tells the other two execs that he has been given permission by Tucker – encouraged, actually – to rig Libor rates downward. What’s even worse is that Diamond’s email suggests that Tucker was only following orders, i.e. that Tucker had received phone calls from "a number of senior figures within Whitehall" – that is, the British government – expressing concern about Barclays' high Libor rates. Tucker in this version of events was acting as a middleman for the British government, telling Diamond to fake his borrowing rates in order to preserve the appearance of financial stability, for the good of Queen and country as it were.
Since rigged LIBOR rates constitute an invisible robbery of -- well, nearly everyone -- the U.K. government arguably has committed an act of economic war.
Yet you can't get the American media to focus on any of this. If you use Google News right now to gauge who is saying what about LIBOR, you'll find links that go mostly to the business press. (They are
paying attention, thank God.) You will also find a few Reuters stories. The first link to a general interest newspaper goes to -- you guessed it -- the Guardian. Nothing from CBS, MSNBC, ABC -- and certainly nothing from Fox.
On this very site, you'll see an ever-changing parade of CNN headlines in the third column. I've never noticed any stories about LIBOR. You probably won't see any today, and you probably won't see any tomorrow.
LIBOR is a huge news story overseas. Here in America, no-one wants to touch it.
Sites like Memeorandum could change that situation. Most of the time, that site promotes opinion pieces (usually right-wing opinion), the inevitable political horse race stuff, plus whatever hallucinatory nonsense the Breitbart cultists care to spew at any given moment. But nothing about LIBOR.
How can we can force our media mavens to pay attention to the stories that truly matter?