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NPR's Adam Davidson assaults our defender, Elizabeth Warren

rose[I'm stickying this to honor Elizabeth Warren on Mother's Day! At least somebody's trying to take care of us. Do thank her politely. Smart is hawt! -- lambert]

Go listen. Then read the comments. Here's a partial transcript I made; the relevant portion starts at 6:00; I start transcribing at 9:00:

ADAM DAVIDSON: What it feels to me is what you are missing is that -- I think we put aside your pet issues. We put them aside. We put them aside until this crisis is over.

ELIZABETH WARREN: The cr-- What you're saying makes no sense. Now come on. [interpolate Davidson sputtering and attempting to interrupt throughout.] It makes no sense. On an emergency basis, on one day, one week, one month, there's no doubt in my mind we've got to step in, we've got to make sure we have a functioning banking system. I think I've said that like nine times now. Of course we've got to have a functioning banking system.

DAVIDSON: Wait a minute. I want to make you go farther. I want to make you madder before I --

ELIZABETH WARREN: No no no. [Davidson snickers] We're now at what -- we're now seven, eight months into this. And it's the second part of what you said. We can't do anything about the American family until this crisis is over? This crisis will not be over until the American family begins to recover. [More Davidson sputtering.] This crisis does not exist independently --

DAVIDSON: That's your crisis.

ELIZABETH WARREN: No it is not my crisis! That is America's crisis! If people cannnot pay their credit card bills [Davidson tries to interrupt] if they cannot pay their mortgages --

DAVIDSON: But you are not in the mainstream of views on this issue. You are not --

ELIZABETH WARREN: What, if they can't pay their credit card bills the banks are gonna do fine? Who are you looking at?

DAVIDSON: The [sputters]--

ELIZABETH WARREN: Who says a bank a bank is going to survive -- Who is not worried about the fact that the Bank of America's default rate has now bumped over 10%? That's at least the latest data I saw. So the idea that we're going to somehow fix the banks and then next year or next decade we're going to start worrying about the American family just doesn't [Davidson talking over] make any sense.

DAVIDSON: The American families are not -- These issues of crucial, the essential need for credit intermediation are as close to accepted principles among every serious thinker on this topic. The view that the American family, that you hold very powerfully, is fully under assault and that there is -- and we can get into that -- that is not accepted broad wisdom. I talk to a lot a lot a lot of left, right, center, neutral economists [and] you are the only person I've talked to in a year of covering this crisis who has a view that we have two equally acute crises: a financial crisis and a household debt crisis that is equally acute in the same kind of way. I literally don't know who else I can talk to support that view. I literally don't know anyone other than you who has that view, and you are the person [snicker] who went to Congress to oversee it and you are presenting a very, very narrow view to the American people.

ELIZABETH WARREN: I'm sorry. That is not a narrow view. What you are saying is that it is the broad view to think only about trying to save the banks [Davidson sputters] and say Hey! the American economy will recover at some point and we'll worry about the families [Davidson talking over]. I think that is the narrow view and I think I have the broad view. The broad view is that these two things are connected to each other. And the notion that you can save the banking system while the American economy goes down the tubes is just foolish.

NPR commenter: "Wow. Got a little heated there."

And there you have it. To NPR, 30 years of economic injustice and how that creates the yardstick to evaluate TARP, are "pet issues."

Fuck you, Adam. Fuck you very much.

It's getting so that NPR, as Sarah would say, makes my back teeth itch: It's the smiling smugness that gets to me, the insider snickering, and the vicious little digs at the unkewl, and all wrapped up in urbane seeming civility. From the intro befor the portion transcribed above: "financial stuff that affects every day people," "it seems that's she's the reasonable one," "the other issues that she happens to care passionately about," "I want to make you madder" (because in Versailles, getting angry is so, so uncivil). No question that NPR is the best of Versailles. But they're the best of Versailles. They're doing what everybody else in Versailles is doing: Nailing the Overton Window firmly in place so that it can't be dragged left, and those nasty peasants know their place. It's just that they're part of the team that's hammering their nails at the left-hand side of the sill instead of the right.

Here's the first comment (as of this morning):

Adam complains about the TARP Oversight Board failures, but Planet Money has not been doing its job. PM has *never* addressed the fact that the private banking system (which needs federal deposit insurance to be trustworthy to depositors) determines the purposes for which money will be created, when they issue loans. PM’s treatment of a bank balance sheet left out this key point, suggesting that banks only lend a combination of their capital and deposits, which is not true. They create (loan) money they do not have. They are expected to be careful with money creation, because, due to their leverage, they will be easily wiped out if they make mistakes. But “financial innovation" caused banks to abdicate their role in determining credit risks, and little of the “talent" in banks today relates to determining borrowers’ creditworthiness. The banking crisis reveals that the risks the private banking system takes are socialized, while the profits are privatized. Given this reality, it’s time for discussion about the responsibilities of banks to the society. PM has been tiptoeing around these issues, but has not taken them on directly. To harass Dr. Warren for her take on such issues is, as many have said here, shameful.

Shameful indeed.

If you must give to Nice Polite Republicans, give to your local station, where might have some impact, and make sure they understand you're paying for Bill Moyers, and not paying Davidson to throw crap like this.

NOTE Via alert reader ytownohio in a comment on Meteor Blades' post.

No votes yet


DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

This crisis will not be over until the American family begins to recover.

That is what Versailles fails to comprehend, that the well being or ordinary people and the well being of the banking system are somehow separate. And it is beyond everything that NPR expects people who are hanging on by their fingernails to donate money so they can be told that their personal well being is a "pet issue."

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Versailles thinks that the well being of ordinary people is somehow separate from the well being of the banking system rather than understanding that good banking system is dependent upon a prosperous middle class.

Submitted by Anne on

the intro to the clip, which had the two already chuckling and smirking about the interview, and then Davidson's condescending, patronizing "discussion" with Warren that mostly seemed to be about patting himself on the back for how smart he is. I particularly loved his mention of the "serious thinkers" - which was as clear a statement as any that he does not consider Warren one of them.

Hey, why agree with Warren when you can pretend you are Timmy's best friend?

They all make me sick.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

I read Planet Money every day and heard this interview when it first came on (He later discussed it, basically mocking the, uh, spat as silly). I've never heard him like this before. He literally shouted at her. It was incredible. He really does hate the unwashed masses, doesn't he? If it wasn't clear before, it should be now: what the Village means by "economic recovery," is the looting of the people to line the pockets of the oligarchy, their friends.

This is just plain fuckery:
The view that the American family, that you hold very powerfully, is fully under assault and that there is -- and we can get into into that -- that is not accepted broad wisdom.

According to whom? Are Krugman and Galbraith no longer considered economists any more, let alone widely respected ones? Is it a joke that the National Economic Council American Economic Association gave the John Bates Clark Medal to Emmanuel Saez?

But let's pretend no major economist or political figure agrees with her and that's she's distinctly out of the precious mainstream. So what?! Weren't those of us who saw the Iraq invasion for the fraud it was out of the mainstream? And we were right. That's what matters: whether or not something is true or valid, not whether it's popular.

Maybe "wisdom" is the red flag here in which he's referring to Serious People. And God knows the Serious Ones hate facts, evidence, and basic reasoning.

Lastly, when do we get to bury NPR? It's good as dead. Just ten years ago, I used to listen to it every day and now I can't stand most of them. Same for PBS News Hour.

Submitted by jawbone on

explanatory programs, but since then it seems to have been pushed --or chose-- to toe the line, the Banksters', Obama administration's, and, yes indeedydeed, the Versailles' line on the Big Meltdown and it Big Coverup.

I missed this interview...bcz...well, bcz NPR's news simply isn't that valuable any more. I never used to miss it.

But this is is painfully, frighteningly so far back from the line of reality. NPR needs to take a long look at what it wants to be. It can't be both subservient courtier to power and truthteller for the public.

Ken Burns' Frank Lloyd Wright program was just rebroadcast in the NYC area, and it mentioned his mother's Welsh farming family (in Wisconsin's very rural west between Madison and the Mississippi River) whose motto was "Truth Against the World." Wright was sent to work there summers when he turned 11; he hated the work but loved the dinner conversation. (Apparently the neighbors considered Wright's grandparents' clan "difficult" people...heh.)

The MCM seems to play a strong role in suppressing such searching for and standing up for truth.

Those with powerful platforms in this nation no long hew to anything close to that. Oh, they smatter bits of truth here and there, not tied too closely together, in order that the MCMers and MCM wannabees can sleep well at night. But hewing to the powerfuls' narrative in order to have a very nice place in which to sleep at night is most important.

Planet Money--another write-off. It will probably occasionally do some good work, but on the whole will play its role in telling the Narrative of the Powerful.

Avedeon Carol has a post about how a Pulitzer Prize winning writer at the NYTimes, David Barstow, has not had one invitation from Big MCMers to discuss his story about the Pentagon's media manipulation. From the post she links to at DKos by KingOneEye, This Is Why We Need a Blogosphere":

Yesterday, Barstow was interviewed by Amy Goodman* of Democracy Now to discuss the announcement that the Pentagon inspector general's office had withdrawn its own report that had previously exonerated the program. In the interview Goodman asked Barstow to comment on the lack of reporting on his story. Barstow said...

"You know, to be honest with you, I haven't received many invitations - in fact, any invitations - to appear on any of the main network or cable programs. I can't say I'm hugely shocked by that."

"On the other hand, while there's been kind of deafening silence, as you put it, on the network side of this, the stories have had - sparked an enormous debate in the blogosphere. And to this day, I continue to get regular phone calls from not just in this country but around the world, where other democracies are confronting similar kinds of issues about the control of their media and the influence of their media by the government."

"So it's been an interesting experience to see the sort of two reactions, one being silence from the networks and the cable programs, and the other being this really lively debate in the blogosphere. "

When an important and newsworthy story that exposes government wrongdoing at the highest levels - a story that appears on the front page of the New York Times and wins a Pulitzer Prize - cannot get the attention of television news outlets, there is something seriously wrong with that medium. When a respected journalist has to console himself with having his story get traction only on the Internet, it tells us a great deal about how corrupt the corporate-run news divisions of America have become.

But Sally Quinn and her son are everywhere about their book on her son's type of learning problem.

The DKos post has ways to contact the MSNBC MCMers.

Thank goodness for Amy Goodman. I remember when she was on the Charlie Rose Show around the time of the Iraq Invasion, think it was after the actual invasion. Rose was unable to contain himself, as she offered facts which countered the Bush catapulted propaganda. He kept interrupting her, barely allowed her to finish a sentence. He closed by saying he looked forward to having on his show again. That was only slightly over 6 years more of Amy on The Charlie Rose Show.

Thank goodness for Bill Moyers. For Krugman. For the so missed Molly Ivens. For all those with platforms in the MCM, and who have made their own, who have spoken truth against the powers of the world.

Too bad Jim Lehrer, who was so confused about how it could be he had never learned any of the facts Amy Goodman and Moyers talked about and thus couldn't have informed the public. Was a mystery to him. As he told a caller on Wiscsonsin Public Radio, he didn't even know who Amy Goodman was! And that was one of his excuses.

Of course he damn well knew who Bill Moyers was....

And thank goodness for the internet and the blogosphere, where, in some very good places, the work of those who do real journalism can be amplified and preserved -- can be, sometimes, written up enough to make a dent in the MCM Narrative.

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Davidson behaves as a Buffoon. He doesn't even understand that Krigman, Stiglitz and Johnson agree totally with Elizabeth Warren. By demanding that the banks will run as utilities and serve as simple borrow and save institutions, one equates banks with serving the needs of families and small businesses.

Beyond snickering like a class idiot, Davidson also flanks the term's exam.

Submitted by jawbone on

LINK for an awwww moment.

OK, enough feel good--prepare your calls' notes for tomorrow.

Well, you might want to take time out to watch Masterpiece Mystery which has one of my fave detectives, the Swedish homicide investigator Kurt Wallender created by Henning Mankell. Check for local time and listings.

Kenneth Branough stars. Ought to be very good.

Starting May 11th, can be watched online. Limited time.

Submitted by lambert on

And nobody seems to have noticed that the rose is a wild rose, not a domesticated one.

Submitted by lambert on


You know, before I checked those posts, I'd forgotten how awesome NPR had become in its suckitude, and that's even before we get to Gwen Ifill. Does Media Matters cover them?

UPDATE Ran into this site. They seem to take a suitably jaundiced view.

TreeHugger's picture
Submitted by TreeHugger on

I go away for a day and come back to find children have been sassin' Mom again.

Truly, I switched my contributions from NPR to our local community radio station years ago and have never looked back.

I heard PM mentioned by a couple of bloggers in the past, but whenever I read the links I was underwhelmed...certainly never bookmarked it.

Once again, as I have on other blogs, I commend to your reading Kevin Phillips' 2008 book 'Bad Money' as well as one of his prior books 'Wealth and Democracy'. He is an historian of government, politics, and the uses to which wealth is put. He has made the point over and over and over that a vibrant middle class is the sine qua non of a vibrant democracy.

But, he's probably not 'serious' enough for the students in the shallow end of the gene pool dominating corporate media.

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture
Submitted by Card-carrying_B... on

Followed by big-time GroupThink Pressure: oooooooh, lady, you are all alone in this!
You sure you wanna still adhere to that opinion? Considering that you're all alone . . . all alone . . . nobuddy else is sayin' what you're saying.

*"pet" issues, making her "madder"

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture
Submitted by Card-carrying_B... on

it works.

The shutting them up thing. Via whatever specific methodology.

There are some topics I won't even touch on my own blog. I am thus self-STFU-ed? Mostly about sexism. How sad is that?

Or -- how effective is the STFU tactic?

Purty good.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Fuck you very much, indeed.

This is like the primaries, all over again. The condescension, the childish smirking and interrupting, the dissociative "you" and "your"...all tinged with a "you lonely little girl" form of sexism. uggh

But you are not in the mainstream of views on this issue. You are not --

And, yet, he stacks it with another tactic used to "otherize" the truly mainstream. These freaks are just that disconnected from reality, aren't they? It really gets at the belief that the nation would have to wholly collapse before they'd get that "they" are "us", too. It's why I think we're going to have fall into utter desolation before they get it. It's why it's also imperative, on another front, to try torturers. They don't understand anything else but the use of power. They'll answer to nothing less than humiliation brought upon by the losing of their freedom and their power.

What freakish arrogance, galling condescension, and hideous denial of reality. I'm beginning to ramble I'm so angry, so I'll end.