The Columbia Journalism Review takes apart an interview by Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money, which we linked to earlier this week and caused some consternation among readers who listened to the program. Davidson took a combative stance towards Warren, painted her as out to get the banking industry and out of step with mainstream America (really? most Americans are as disgusted with the practices of credit card companies as she is). He also interrupted her repeatedly.
CJR also makes a broader point: the media has been trying to marginalize Warren in a completely different fashion, by simply refusing to cover her.
The CJR points out that no banking industry executive would have been treated this way, and it’s 100% correct. What it fails to note that it isn’t just becoming standard practice to question liberals merely for being liberal, suggesting that a diversity of views is a bad thing. And frankly, women are easier to take on. It’s socially acceptable to interrupt them, which can throw off one’s line of thought. In court, it’s a tactic of counsel to raise a lot objections to throw off opposing counsel. Even the mild mannered Charlie Rose at point in an interview Naomi Klein questioned he at points in a way that he seldom does (making faces and interrupting her) but threw softballs to financial industry stalwarts like Timothy Geithner and Morgan Stanely CEO John Mack. In a interview with Elizabeth Warren, he was did not challenge her but did set some snares that she did not walk into.
From the Columbia Journalism Review (hat tip reader Doug):
A couple of times in the last few months I’ve taken the press to task for ignoring the Congressional Oversight Panel and its report on the TARP. I’ve talked to reporters in the biz since and got the impression that many of them don’t really take it seriously because its chairwoman Elizabeth Warren is a liberal who, they say, pushes her agenda.
So it’s worth listening to this entire Planet Money podcast from NPR, where Adam Davidson badgers Warren for more than an hour to justify her existence, so to speak.
If you want a peek inside business-press mentality, and why certain stories get reported and others don’t, you can do worse than start here. It sees Warren as an outlier whose views, based on decades of research, are suspicious. It would never, ever have badgered a former bank exec, say, like this if one had been chairman of the panel. Davidson, like the reporters I referenced above, has been talking to too many bankers and insiders who sneer at someone not inside their bubble. Perhaps he’s trying to prove his objective journalist bona fides at “liberal” NPR by taking it to a liberal.
Warren isn’t legitimate in the eyes of the press, so it just pretty much ignores her—even though she and her co-panelists were selected by Congress to oversee whether the Treasury is spending the $700 billion we gave it in a way that’s best for the economy.
This interview is really cringeworthy stuff from Davidson, who comes out looking pretty bad (which makes it all the more admirable that NPR runs the entire tape). Warren takes this fight going away.
I don’t have a complete transcript of the show but I typed up some of it.
The article continues here.