Watchdog Blog

Carolyn Lewis: Blaming the Victims in the AIG Scandal

Posted at 12:50 pm, March 18th, 2009
Carolyn Lewis Mug

Crikey! Who are the dunderheads who shaped the lead editorial in the March 18 Washington Post? Pack them off to the woodshed.

With growing outrage across the country, in Congress and the White House, over the obscene bonuses given to top dogs at AIG, the Post writers complain about the complainers. They are called “demagogic critics,” “an opportunistic chorus,” and folks who are “fully exploiting their freedom to disagree.” It’s the old scam, blaming the victims for their victimhood, and trying to silence them when they holler.

What’s more, the editorial buys right into the AIG company propaganda, that the $165 million dollar bonuses go to people we need to get us out of the fix we’re in – even as many of those people have already left the company. Furthermore, the Post argues that those millions aren’t much compared with the billions at stake in saving the company.

It’s astounding that the leading newspaper in the nation’s capital (and my former employer) just doesn’t GET IT. Maybe it’s a case of living too long inside the Beltway, or mingling too much with the rich and powerful, but it is the height of insensitivity to fail to understand what’s really at stake here. It’s the absolute need that the public, the taxpayers who are paying the bills, will feel that their hard-earned money isn’t going to the scoundrels who got us into this mess in the first place. That there will be a fair distribution of pain, and that means not letting AIG get away with this scandalous behavior.

The editorial folks should be reading their own paper’s Steven Pearlstein column on the same day’s business page. Pearlstein says Wall Street has yet to learn that the times are a-changing, “and the sooner the people embrace that reality, the better it will be for everyone.”

A newspaper whose main task is to make life hard for those who misuse their power, should be the first to trumpet the need to set the matter right. The Post has fallen down on that essential job.

2 Responses to “Blaming the Victims in the AIG Scandal”

  1. J. says:

    “It’s astounding that the leading newspaper in the nation’s capital (and my former employer) just doesn’t GET IT.”

    Not really. Just business as usual for the WaPo. Surely you must have seen this article bemoaning how tough life was for AIG employees.

  2. jmndodge says:

    It’s all a smokescreen. The bonus are a drop in the bucket, the derivatives and illegal activities beneath the surface are deadly. Let’s actually have some investigative journalism, and some Congressional oversight, and quite following the fake.

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