Thursday, September 25, 2008


Bailout protests not newspaper fodder

by Larry Geller

Around the country, Republican and Democratic voters are rising up in outright opposition to the White House plan… [see below]

You’d never know it from our daily paper, though, in Honolulu.

What you are aware of depends on where you live and which paper you read, of course, and which articles the local paper where you live wishes to purchase and print. They decide what they want you to know and not know.

If your paper runs AP stories, you get one view. It looks like everyone agrees on a bailout. How would you know otherwise?

If you surf the web or read the New York Times, you might read this:

Constituents Make Their Bailout Views Known


WASHINGTON — Americans’ anger is in full bloom, jumping off the screen in capital letters and exclamation points, in the e-mail in-boxes of elected representatives in the nation’s capital.

“I am hoping Congress can find the backbone to stand on their feet and not their knees before BIG BUSINESS,” one correspondent wrote to Representative Jim McDermott of Washington.

“I’d rather leave a better world to my children — NOT A BANKRUPT NATION. Whew! Pardon my shouting,” wrote another.

Mr. McDermott is a liberal Democrat, but his e-mail messages look a lot like the ones that Representative Candice S. Miller, a conservative Republican from Michigan, is receiving. “NO BAILOUT, I am a registered republican,” one constituent wrote. “I will vote and campaign hard against you if we have to subsidize the very people that have sold out MY COUNTRY.”

The backlash, in phone calls as well as e-mail messages, is putting lawmakers in a quandary as they weigh what many regard as the most consequential decision of their careers: whether to agree to President Bush’s request to spend an estimated $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue the financial services system.

Around the country, Republican and Democratic voters are rising up in outright opposition to the White House plan or, at the very least, to express concern that it is being pushed through Congress in haste.
. . .

What’s not in the papers does get on TV. For example, there’s an ABC video here, if you click, of consumer group protests.

"It's like give us the money and it's a slush fund for Wall Street paid for by Main Street. That's outrageous. The consumer needs some kinds of protections as well. After all they're the ones paying the bill," says Joan Claybrook, the Public Citizen president.

The advocates said taxpayers should not have to give away money without getting a great deal in return.

"If Congress is going to bail out Wall Street banks and financial companies, that got us into this mess, the least they can do is put a cap on how much money these companies can take of our money and then loan it back to us with interest," says Harvey Rosenfield, from Consumer Watchdog.

Bailouts in the air?

Did you read that the Advertiser is going to increase the newsstand price of the paper? (When the article was posted yesterday, it collected a bunch of really nasty comments). How come we’ll be asked to pay more for less news, when readership is actually up? Are Hawaii readers supposed to bail out Gannett? Will they give us something other than sanitized AP stories in return? Or will some people just decide to take their advice and go to the web instead of buying the paper?

Will fired reporters (and cartoonists) be rehired? Why am I asking these silly questions? Of course not.

We’ll pay the extra quarter, of course. We’ll let Congress bail out their CEO buddies on Wall Street. And our newspapers will keep us uninformed that we really can protest these things if we want to.

P.S. You can still get a ‘way cheaper subscription at Costco.


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