Friday, July 29, 2011

Now Journalists Just Ask Why

Every journalism student learns that a story should provide the who, what, why, where and how of an event.  This directive eventually led to some professionals being rightly called ‘investigative journalists’, and we still have a few today, such as Jeremy Schahill who writes for The Nation and often appears on Democracy Now.  But by and large, journalists these days are content to endlessly ask ‘Why?’, as they report on the day’s aberrations.

This is particularly true when it comes to the behavior of the Republicans Party, now under the thumb of the Tea Party.  (Notice how commentators now refer to both parties, as though the Tea Party were a regularly constituted third party - or the Republican Party had two heads.)  It’s left to academics and a few other book writers such as Naomi Klein, to investigate what is going on with our government.

As journalists continue to wring their hands, a Marxist academic appearing yesterday on Democracy Now, suggests an incredibly shocking answer to the question of why Congress appears oblivious to the possibility of an American default.  In a book entitled ‘Capitalism Hits the Fan’ Richard Wolff, Emeritus Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Amherst and visiting professor at New School University, affirms that the big banks, previously bailed out by tax payers, now lend money to the U.S. government.  Hence their indifference to - or rather their interest in - a default.

Hearing Professor Wolff, I began to wonder whether the intransigence of newly elected Tea Party members can be laid at the door of the Koch Brothers, who run training programs for would-be Tea Party members of Congress.  Could it be that these magnates are indoctrinating political actors with principles that appear not only right but harmless to the nation, in order to achieve aims that are wrong and a disaster for the nation - but are to the advantage of big finance?

I admit that this could in the end be self-defeating, and many readers will point this out.  But if today’s journalists have been incapable of discovering that the major banks are benefiting from loans to our beleaguered government, what else is being hidden from us?

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