Project S.H.A.M.E.: The Recovered History of Adam Davidson

We are delighted to post the latest offering of Project S.H.A.M.E, a media transparency initiative led by Yasha Levine and Mark Ames.

Adam Davidson

Host of NPR’s Planet Money & New York Times Magazine Columnist

Adam Davidson graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in religion, and began his public radio career selling airtime and doing sponsor outreach. He then became an on-air radio personality, filing pro-Iraq War dispatches as Marketplace’s Middle East correspondent, and recently transformed himself into an effective propagandist for the banking industry. Over the years, Davidson has whitewashed the occupation of Iraq, praised sweatshop labor, attacked the idea of regulating Wall Street and argued for “squeezing the middle class”–all while taking undisclosed money from banking interests. No wonder Davidson shamelessly credited Wall Street for providing “just about anything that makes you happy.”

The Recovered History of Adam Davidson

  • Davidson began working in public radio in 1992, doing “underwriting sales” for Chicago Public Radio, a position described by one public radio station as “equivalent to that of a sales manager at private stations. This person must go out into the community and establish rapport with local businesses in order to sell airtime to them. The underwriting representative is then responsible for developing a direct . . . and informational message to put on the air for the client.”
  • Adam Davidson spent the early 2000s as Middle East correspondent for Public Radio International’s Marketplace. In the lead up to the Iraq War, Davidson filed a number of pieces promoting the invasion of Iraq; after the invasion, Davidson moved to Baghdad and filed numerous radio items whitewashing the occupation catastrophe.
  • In December 2002, Davidson positively profiled an Israeli right-wing conspiracy theory site Debka.com in order to promote the invasion of Iraq. Despite the fact that Debka.com was long ago discredited in Israel, where “not a single Israeli official…sees the site as a reliable source”–and despite Debka.com’s ties to rightwing conspiracy theory site WorldNet Daily, nevertheless Davidson presented Debka’s claims that Saddam had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction–including chemical, biological and nuclear–as credible. Davidson staked his own credibility defending Debka, telling NPR listeners: “There’s really no way to confirm what they’re reporting right now, but I’ve been reading the site for years, and it’s common to think they’re nuts, then to wait a few weeks and see the same information in The New York Times.” As it turned out, Saddam did not possess weapons of mass destructions of any kind. In 2007, Davidson’s beloved Debka.com created a panic in New York City after publishing false rumors of an impending Al Qaeda dirty bomb attack.
  • In February 2003, just a few weeks before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Davidson found a couple of Iraqi merchants living in Jordan who were in favor of the coming invasion, telling Davidson’s listeners that the invasion would do wonders for Iraq’s economy. “Mohammed,” one of the merchants, told Davidson: “I’m very optimistic about the economy of Iraq.” The war decimated Iraq’s economy, destroyed its infrastructure and was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.
  • Davidson then moved to Baghdad and went to work whitewashing the brutality and violence of the war and occupation. In a 2004 Los Angeles Times op-ed, Adam Davison claimed that American military violence played no part in Iraqi anger at the occupation, and suggested that Americans hadn’t committed serious violence of any sort. Instead, Davidson argued that the reason the U.S. wasn’t winning the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi people was because America had not successfully rooted out Saddam-era corruption. “It’s common to hear Iraqis say the U.S. regime is just like Hussein’s. At first, I found this bizarre. The U.S. is not hacking the ears off of innocent people. The U.S. isn’t massacring entire villages. But I learned that when Iraqis make the Hussein comparison, they’re talking, in large part, about corruption.” By focusing on Saddam-era corruption, Davidson made it seem as though the problem in Iraq was that Iraq wasn’t Americanized enough, rather than the violence of the American invasion and occupation.
  • After living in Baghdad for a year, Davidson had to suddenly flee the country in 2004, fearing for his life after being accused of working for the CIA. Later, Davidson admitted that he had a tight and undisclosed relationship with occupation officials, who regularly visited his Baghdad home and revealed to Davidson that the situation was much worse than was being reported. Rather than telling his listeners as a journalist should, Davidson protected the occupation authorities: “The ones I liked I’d invite over to the house. I mean, I genuinely liked them, but also we’d get them a little drunk on wine. We’d tell them, hey, tonight everything’s off the record. And we’d get real information...we’d get these people over to our house, they’d have some wine, and they’d be like, ‘oh, it’s so much worse than you know.'”
  • In 2006, now working at NPR as a business reporter, Davidson criticized the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, legislation passed in the wake of Enron to tighten corporate financial accountability and make top executives criminally liable for fraud happening under their watch. “The U.S. has a bunch of crazy rules that came out of a time of hysteria in the U.S. They don’t make any sense,” Davidson told listeners. This was part of a larger push by Wall Street and corporate interests to gut Sarbanes-Oxley. Among those pushing the same PR line against Sarbanes-Oxley as Davidson were Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Foundation and even Charles Koch himself. [ 1 ]
  • In 2007, Davidson boosted for the Honduran sweatshop industry, and promoted sweatshop labor in general, which he said was a great opportunity offering women upward mobility. Making socks in a sweatshop is “the only way she can improve her life,” Davidson said of one Honduran young woman he profiled for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” He did not mention that Honduran sweatshop workers routinely develop incapacitating back and spinal injuries working 12-hour shifts with little or no breaks, face workplace abuse and intimidation, and earn about 65 cents per hour. Meanwhile the CEO of Gildan, a Canadian garment company doing business in Honduras that Davidson praised in his program, took home $11 million in compensation in 2009.
  • In 2012, Davidson promoted an even more extreme version of the Honduran sweatshop: special extra-judicial sweatshop zones legally beyond Honduran constitutional and labor laws, where multinationals could tap cheap labor, and use their own police force and judicial systems. The extra-judicial business zones, the brainchild of University of Chicago-trained economist Paul Romer, have been denounced as “neo-colonial” and have attracted the interest of Milton Friedman’s libertarian grandson, Patri Friedman, along with other libertarians hostile to labor rights. Davidson dismissed critics of the Honduras extra-judicial sweatshop zones: “It’s easy to criticize experimenting with the livelihoods of the poor,” Davidson wrote. “We have to try some new things, probably many new things. And we have to accept that some of them won’t work.”
  • In 2008, Davidson helped produce an episode of This American Life about the implosion of subprime lending that let Wall Street off the hook for its role in rampant mortgage fraud and predatory lending. “This was a crisis that was caused by willing participation of every single person. Nobody was coerced,” said Davidson’s co-producer Alex Blumberg. “And there was fraud. But that was not what caused the crisis. What caused the crisis was something bigger and more systemic that required the involvement of everybody at every step.” This evasion-by-exaggerating-the-complexity strategy is one that Davidson and Planet Money have deployed often to whitewash and deflect the role of criminality in the housing crisis. Among the show’s fans was Treasury Secretary and former New York Federal Reserve Bank chief Timothy Geithner: “Yeah, they did a good job.”
  • In September 2008, Davidson falsely claimed that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act played no role whatsoever in the financial collapse: “Every economist I’ve spoken with says, simply, that it was a bad law but that it and its repeal are not really to blame for what is happening now.” Many key figures involved in Glass-Steagall’s repeal, including former Citigroup chief Sandy Weill, have contradicted Davidson’s false claim.
  • In early 2009, NPR announced that Planet Money secured Ally Bank as the show’s exclusive sponsor. It was an unusual set up for NPR, as it meant that a financial institution was the sole funder of a news program about finance. At the time, Planet Money was the only NPR program underwritten by a single exclusive sponsor. Even Ad Age, the advertising industry’s trade publication, was surprised by the sponsorship arrangement and the “close alignment of message and news program.” (At the time of this writing, Ally is still Planet Money’s exclusive sponsor.)
  • Ally Bank is a subsidiary of Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC. The bank is one of the biggest mortgage servicers in the country, and has been one of the very worst offenders in foreclosure fraud and subprime fraud. It received more than $17 billion taxpayer bailout funds and has been investigated across the country for foreclosure fraud, robo-signing and student loan fraud. As of August 1, 2012, 74% of Ally Financial was still owned by the U.S. Government. [ 2 ]
  • Planet Money’s relationship with Ally is a textbook example of “conflict of interest.” The bank had a clear and demonstrable interest in Planet Money’s coverage of the financial industry, especially issues that affected the bank’s bottom line. As Planet Money’s sole sponsor at a time when NPR funds were falling, Ally obviously wielded considerable power. Following months of complaints from readers pointing to the conflict-of-interest and the way Planet Money’s segments dovetailed with the banking lobby’s own propaganda, NPR’s Ombudsman was forced to look into the Ally-Planet Money relationship. The NPR Ombudsman ultimately dismissed listeners’ concerns as “cynical” and implied they did not know what they were talking about. Despite Davidson’s experience in public radio underwriting, he claimed ignorance about the nature of Planet Money’s arrangement with its sole sponsor, Ally Bank: “I have nothing to do with the underwriting stuff. We don’t pay any attention to the fact that they are a sponsor. We wouldn’t for a second give them any special treatment — positive or negative.”
  • In 2009, while Ally Financial (then still known as GMAC) was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against the Financial Consumer Protection Agency Act of 2009, Davidson aired a number of segments critical of the legislation. He questioned the need to regulate consumer financial products like mortgages and credit cards in order to protect people against bank fraud. “Will it work at all?” he wondered on air, and asked: “is this just one more layer of regulation in a regulatory system that fundamentally broke down?” [ 3 ]
  • In May 2009, Davidson launched a bizarre personal attack while interviewing Elizabeth Warren, the chief architect of the financial consumer protection bill. Davidson surprised Warren and his own listeners with uncharacteristic personal smears, trying to portray her as a clueless, power-hungry ideologue: “The view that the American family, that you hold very powerfully, is fully under assault . . . that is not accepted broad wisdom. . . . 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.” The Columbia Journalism Review described the interview as a “disaster” and “really cringeworthy stuff from Davidson,” who was so rude and unprofessional that NPR’s Ombudsman had to step in and apologize for his behavior. Davidson’s excuse: he had been traveling for a NPR fundraiser and was “very, very tired.” [ 4 ] [ 5 ]
  • Adam Davidson does not disclose that he does paid speaking gigs at events funded by banks and financial companies, including J.P. Morgan, Well Fargo, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs–the same companies he covers as a journalist. Davidson is frequently the only journalist/reporter booked to speak at these events; other speakers are usually work in finance. (See top of left sidebar for detailed info on Davidson’s recent speaking engagements.)
  • In 2011, Davidson expanded his media presence with a weekly financial column in the New York Times Magazine. His first column argued that government can’t create jobs, and so politicians shouldn’t try to come up with “job plans”–a demonstrably false position that also happens to be shared by Koch-funded libertarian Cato Institute. In his second column, Davidson pushed for harsh austerity measures against the majority of Americans in order to benefit the financial sector: “It really stinks, but the only way to fix the economy is to squeeze the middle class.
  • In 2012, Davidson argued that everyone should grovel before Wall Street, without which, he argued, America would be much poorer. Davidson’s pro-Wall Street propaganda was so crude that even fellow neoliberal Matthew Yglesias stepped in to criticize Davidson: “I’m generally an Adam Davidson fan, but his recent New York Times Magazine article in defense of Wall Street is pretty unconvincing. The big problem is right up there in the lede where he says ‘Perhaps the best way to really appreciate what Wall Street does is to imagine life without it.'”
  • On May 1 2012, Davidson published a flattering profile of Edward Conard, Mitt Romney’s former business partner at Bain Capital, as a way of promoting more worship of the rich: “Conard . . . has laid out tightly argued case for just how much consumers actually benefit from the wealthy,” Davidson wrote, as he uncritically reported Conard’s claim that inequality “is a sign that our economy is working. And if we had a little more of it, then everyone, particularly the 99 percent, would be better off.” Yves Smith, of Naked Capitalism, described the article as “chock full of blatant falsehoods” among which were Davidson’s claim that penicillin was made possible by investment capital from hedge fund managers like Conard. In fact penicillin research was funded by the British and U.S. governments.
  • Two weeks later, on May 16, Davidson spoke at 27th Annual Conference for the Treasury & Finance Professional. Bank of America, BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Bloomberg, Citibank, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Well Fargo and about a dozen of the most powerful financial companies in the world sponsored the event.

Undisclosed Income

Adam Davidson’s career is currently being funded by bailed out banks. On top of Ally Bank’s exclusive sponsorship of Planet Money, Davidson receives lucrative speaking fees for appearing at events funded by the same banks and financial companies he covers as a journalist. Davidson has yet to disclose his corporate clients and how much they pay him, but here is a partial list of Davidson’s gigs from the last two years compiled from various publicly available sources:

  • In April 2011, Davidson was the headlining speaker at the 9th Annual “Women’s World Banking” Microfinance and the Capital Markets Conference. The conference was hosted by J.P. Morgan, but the organization itself is funded by the world’s biggest banks and corporations, including BP, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, Barclays Capital, VISA, ExxonMobil–just to name a few.
  • In 2011, Davidson spoke at another microfinance conference, this once was also funded by Morgan Stanley, Citi, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and CapitalOne.
  • In 2012, Davidson spoke at the 27th Annual Conference for the Treasury & Finance Professional. Sponsors of the event included Bank of America, BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Bloomberg, Citibank, Findelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Well Fargo and about a dozen of the most powerful financial the largest financial companies in the world.

Chicago Public Media, which co-owns “Planet Money” through its ownership of “This American Life”, explicitly bars conflicts-of-interest: “WBEZ journalists must uphold the trust of the public by not overlapping individual interests with professional responsibilities. WBEZ journalists may not accept any form of compensation from the individuals, institutions or organizations they cover.”

Note: Both NPR and This American Life have not responded S.H.A.M.E.’s requests for comment about Davidson’s conflicts of interest.

Planet Money’s Ally Problem

Ally Bank has been Planet Money’s exclusive sponsor since 2009, a relationship that provides a textbook example of conflict of interest. Below are two screenshots of Ally Bank advertisements running on Planet Money’s website:

Davidson’s Shame Quotes

I feel like the voice of business journalism is sort of, it’s an authoritative voice of God.

–Davidson in a 2009 interview with Nieman Journalism Lab

The last time I interacted with University of Chicago faculty in an extended way, they were my professors. Sitting on a stage as their ‘peer,’ I felt like a kid who had borrowed his dad’s suit.

–Davidson describes his reaction to being invited to talk about the “unintended consequences” of financial regulation at Chicago University’s 58th Annual Management Conference in April 2010

Raising [corporate taxes], or even maintaining them, might satisfy the anti-corporate angst of protesters and populists, but it won’t come anywhere near paying off our debt. Most people who study the issue agree that the top federal corporate tax rate (35 percent of profits) is simply too high. The cardinal rule of taxation is that whatever you put a levy on, you’ll inevitably get less of.

–Davidson’s “It’s Not Just About the Millionaires”; New York Times Magazine; November 2011

Davidson’s PR Strategies

Every economist I’ve spoken with says, simply, that it was a bad law but that it and its repeal are not really to blame for what is happening now.

–Davidson’s NPR segment “Can We Blame Or Praise Glass-Steagall?”

Most people who study the issue agree that the top federal corporate tax rate (35 percent of profits) is simply too high.

–Davidson on why U.S. should lower corporate taxes

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.

–Davidson during his attack on Elizabeth Warren


Notes:

  1. Malcolm Gladwell made a similar claim in a 2007 New Yorker article that defended Enron. Read Gladwell’s S.H.A.M.E. Report for more info. []
  2. See Naked Capitalism’s coverage of GMAC/Ally’s mortgage fraud. []
  3. GMAC’s total lobbying on finance-related bills in 2009 added up to $1.2 mil. See GMAC’s page on OpenSecrets.org for more information. []
  4. NPR did not respond to S.H.A.M.E.’s requests for comment about Davidson’s conflicts of interest. []
  5. Read Corrente’s transcript of Davidson’s Elizabeth Warren interview. []
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59 comments

    1. jake chase

      I never heard of this Davidson but he has a very unsavory look and should probably stick to radio. Do other people really listen to these cartoon characters?

      1. rotter

        A dangerously large number of people, yes, or so i gathered from the write up. Although, 100 people listening to this bank ceo publicist -on public air- would be a dangerously large number

    2. humboldt

      Yves, thanks so much for linking the critique by Columbia Journalism review. I was quite a fan of Planet Money back when they started broadcasting. As a layperson, it was my only source of entry to understanding what was happening during the finanacial crisis. But somewhere over the past year or two, it program lost its edge. They ignored OWS after a brief initial story, and little by little their bias began to crop up. I think the more time Davidson spend with rich bankers and policy makers, the more he began to identify with them. I remember listening to the interview with Warren twice. Davidson usually fawns over his more important guests, and the one person he chose to spar with was Warren? I couldn’t believe it.

      Recently, PM ran an episode on specialty pickle shops in Brooklyn and how these plucky young Americans were surviving the financial crisis by manufacturing their own crafts and opening boutiques. It made my skin crawl. I live in a rural area where local industry has dried up and am very familiar with this pattern of people scrabbling for what they might do by hand to support themselves. Remember that brilliant scene in “Rodger and Me” where Moore interviews the lady butchering rabbits? And this is just Not the “innovative solution” that Planet Money gleefully pronounced it to be. Innovative? yes. Solution? no. You can only make a decent living manufacturing handcrafted pickles when you live in frikkin Williamsburg, surrounded by people with enough wealth to buy your homespun trinkets.

      And then Ally Bank. The advertisements are almost enough to push me over the edge. I have little savings and once upon a time was convinced to buy a 7 year bond so they’d accrue some interest. That bond was set to mature in 2009 and though the broker had told me it was a General Motors bond, it was really GMAC. So I almost lost everything and watched with great interest as they restructured to capture the TARP funds and rebranded as “Ally Bank.” They are particulary sleezy in my mind so I cringe hearing their slogans everytime I listen to the NPR podcast: “Ally Bank, committed to being straightforward and trustworthy, good for radio…and for banks” etc. yuck

      I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found Naked Capitalism.

  1. Warren Celli

    Pernicious Greed for Destruction gangster apologist nut job shame peace, shamelessly (and oh so transparently) promotes old fashioned Vanilla Greed for Profit Elizabeth Warren.

    Gag me with an effing spoon.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. wunsacon

      >> Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      Are you the same reader that’s been saying this on NC for years now? It makes more sense to me now than before, although I still wonder whether a word other than “force” would work better.

      1. skippy

        i on the ball patriot says:
        October 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm

        DownSouth you present an interesting and thought provoking juxtaposition of comments and quotes … some thoughts;

        “Your observation that “we have reached relative planetary saturation, with a ponzi economy dependent on rapidly increasing population, which is why they have no solution” seems to echo this passage from Canovan’s introduction:”
        Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/10/munchau-next-crisis-coming-sooner-than-you-think.html#EfSKjqVr8rDgPJZY.99

        Skippy… some epic threads back in the day… sigh.

        Smart Patrol/Mr DNA live

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UKtZwWLMp8

        We must repeat…

      2. Warren Celli

        Wunsacon, yes, same reader. It is a force trust me. When it makes most sense — there is an aha, epiphany type moment when you really get it — you will know you have it. Like all epiphanies there is the joy of discovery and sharper focus and, at the same time, the sadness of the loss of comforting ignorance as the world is forever forward viewed through a more realistic lens.

        Skippy’s posted youtube DEVO link alludes to the nub of it. We are talking Mr. DNA here, one of the carriers of the force of deception.

        i on the ball patriot… some epic kangaroo baloney condiments back in the day… sigh.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  2. Greg R

    Nope, no conflict of interest here. Everyone move along.

    “Our view is it’s a potential conflict of interest for any journalist or any individual who plays a public role on behalf of NPR to take an active part in a political movement or advocacy campaign,”
    “Doing so has the potential to compromise our reputation as an organization that strives to be impartial and unbiased.”

    Those are quotes from spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm when they dumped World of Opera because of Lisa Simeone’s “conflict of interest”.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/npr-dumping-opera-show-ov_n_1026121.html

    What a freakin joke.

    1. Cynthia

      Don’t forget NPR “reporter” Linda Gradstein, who has accepted payment for speeches to pro-Israel organizations in clear violation of NPR policy, but has nevertheless been allowed to continue her pro-Israel “reporting” on NPR.

  3. Peter Pinguid Society

    Adam Davidson is a lackey to the 0.01 percent.

    lackey (plural lackeys)

    1. A footman, a liveried male servant.
    2. A fawning, servile follower; a lickspittle

    Example of a sentence using the words fawning, servile and lickspittle:

    “In the presence of his 0.01 masters, Adam Davidson is a fawning, servile, lickspittle.”

    In short, Adam Davidson is doing a great job serving the bankers and the 0.01 while trying to hoodwink the 99.9 schmucks into believing he is not a fawning, servile, lickspittle of the bankers and the super rich.

    ha ha ha, just keep listening to NPR’s Planet Money you effing morons, then you’re certain to die stupid, ha ha ha

    We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent.

  4. Cynthia

    I don’t want to blame the staff of NPR for the fact that it gradually became, starting in the 1990’s, just another megaphone for the corporate and military machines — fighting those things is like trying to stop the tide from coming in. But the fact remains that for more than a decade NPR has been subverted into a machine to make the corporate/militarist message seem reasonable to liberals. And the old NPR, that we remember from the 1980’s and earlier, died a long time ago. We are better off with a 1000 obvious right-wing news outlets than with NPR’s fake liberal news.

  5. Thingumbob

    Brilliant portrait of a dedicated and perpetually money grubbing hatchet man! I wonder what circle of hell Dante would have him assigned to? He seems to be over qualified…

  6. Cynthia

    Mr. Adamson is clearly an apologist for the bloated, distorted, out-of-control U.S. financial sector. At least he knows which side his bread is buttered on.

  7. El Snarko

    Perhaps we can learn to appreciate this as an art form? If Frank Zappa was correct in his (loosely remembered) statement that art was the business of creating novel stuff for rich people, perhaps there is deep meaning in their communications to the rest of us.
    This yearns for a post structuralist deconstruction of the semiotic reflexivity. Where is Derrida when ya need him ? Oh, deconstructing via decomposition….

  8. YLSP

    You left one off. The episode of Planet Money that shilled for Paulson’s view of the “TARP” (i.e. that it was a blank check); it was October 3, 2008.

    This is my transcription:

    Host1: I talked to a bank lobbyist, he told me there were over 600 professional lobbying groups, thousands of people are working hard to promote the Paulson plan and to weaken any stock injection plan.
    Host2: Weaken — that is — as if it were ever actually seriously considered.
    Host1: Well, that’s what’s interesting. Until last night —
    Host2: You and I are talking Friday morning at 11:20.
    Host1:, At 11:20, we are waiting for the House to vote. Until last night, Thursday, I and everyone I — all the experts I talked to — all the people on Capitol Hill, were under the impression the stock injection plan was simply not on the table. You and I worked late last night, I was in my — in a cab on the way home, I got a call from a guy I now who is pretty well connected, right around midnight. And he told me, “Guess what? The stock injection plan is in the Senate bill that was passed, and its in the House bill.” I woke up this morning, and I still could barely believe it. I’ve been calling around, it was very — it was kind’ve a dramatic morning. The first few people I called said, “No, thats ridiculous there’s no way that could’ve gotten in, that’s impossible.” Over the course of the morning, I got more and more confirmation. And basically what happened is, someone — and we still don’t know who — put in very subtle language into the Senate bill, that gives this as an option to the Treasury Secretary. There’s still the main plan, which is buying the crappy assets, that’s still the core idea — but, the Treasury Secretary has as an option at his discretion, the ability to do this other plan, the one that many economists prefer, the stock injection plan.
    Host2: OK, so at least that’s in there…

    There was also some professor shilling for this view (from Columbia?) in one of the October days. The truth is that there was no language inserted into the Senate bill that was passed. If you compare the bill’s history as it went through there was no substantial difference between failed House version and Senate version. The question is why did Treasury feel the need to have a mis-information compaign on October 2? Hmmm…. perhaps they had the plan to use the funds for capital injection before the bill passed the House (but after it went through the Senate).

    But who cares… democracy right?

    1. Capo Regime

      Yep a hipster who based on the photo could not get laid in a women’s prison with a fistful of pardons.

  9. Lambert Strether

    This is a terrific quote from Davidson:

    “There’s really no way to confirm what they’re reporting right now, but I’ve been reading the site for years, and it’s common to think they’re nuts, then to wait a few weeks and see the same information in The New York Times.”

    Yes, Adam, that’s how a disinformation campaign works. I mean, come on. We’re talking about Judy Miller’s employer, here.

    1. F. Beard

      “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

      Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. Luke 16:13-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    2. propertius

      Nothing like a flash of light from the right source.

      Or, as the Zohar would describe it, “a blinding spark of impenetrable darkness.” ;-)

    1. JTFaraday

      Great South Park cartoon on your website.

      The only way they can make capitalism appear to work is fiscal transfers. May as well admit it.

    2. Generalfeldmarschall Von Hindenburg

      Mr. Henwood was rather too easy on DavIdson. Henwood comes across as patient and kind. Davidson comes across as an unprincipled hack.

  10. Fraud Guy- Also

    From the mid-1990s through 2002, I had a job where I was commuting daily while NPR’s “Marketplace” aired. I remember the grotesque fawning over Greenspan that the show engaged in throughout that period. By the late 1990s, they had given up on calling him “Federal Reserve Chairman” and instead mostly called him “Saint Alan”, seriously.

    1. madchen vapid

      I worked for an NPR member station from 1998 to 2006. I also remember this time. Adumb is just one despicable twat at NPR.

  11. MrColdWaterOfRealityMan

    Actually, NPR itself is now a propaganda tool. The reporting is shallow, the “analyses” worthy of The National Enquirer, and the majority of its air time taken up with entertainment puff pieces and sports. NPR is now only about its own survival, which requires it to kowtow to corporate interests.

  12. stevo67

    Wow. Even a Religious Studies degree from the University of Chicago is no guarantee that you won’t end up as a neo-con/neo-lib prick apologist. Color me shocked. If a meteor the size of a Volkswagon were to take out the entire campus, it would be doing the world a favor.

  13. Waking Up

    The corruption and shameful behavior of our political establishment and our national and state media is so insidious and blatant that it corrupts everything in this country.

    In regards to the media, perhaps the positive note is that eventually the “news” will be relegated to “entertainment” in the minds of most citizens. Eventually, they will no longer go to these sources. If they turn away from radio and television as “news” sources, they also may turn away from them as “entertainment” sources (think about programs which act as a lead-in to a big event). Wouldn’t it be better for future generations to spend less time being propagandized by the market?

  14. despairing in Tucson

    Three cheers for Yves – first learned of SHAME Project on t his website. Unfortunately the comments on NPR here are well taken – can’t bear to listen to it anymore but there is nothing else on radio – BBC was eviscerated under Blair – chucked my TV ages ago. We pose the question: is there intelligence on Earth ?

    1. PQS

      CBC radio is often quite good, and the Canadian banking system didn’t implode, probably because it is still regulated.

      You’ll have to get it on the web, though, I’m pretty sure. Even up here in the PNW, it’s all NPR, except for some Democracy Now.

  15. Phichibe

    Wow. I’m flabbergasted at what Davidson has been up to. Like a lot of NC readers, I’m sure, I listen to NPR a lot and had listened to the Planet Money pieces on the events of 2008 without a critical ear. I have no doubt that if I listened to them now I’d hear something very different than I first did.

    If I had heard the Elizabeth Warren piece, I would have been shocked and disillusioned then. Elizabeth Warren is a complete hero(ine) to me, and anyone attacking her, particularly in such a crude, clueless, and inaccurate manner as Davidson apparently did, that’s utterly shocking to me. As it is, the Davidson pieces in the NYT are what really tipped me off to his agenda. The “nothing to see here, folks, just move along” line he peddles about Wall Street is right off the page of the Andrew Sorkin (f*&k the “Ross”, he gets two names just like the rest of us) so no wonder he ended up at the Times. However, the speaking fees issue appalls me and makes me wonder what else is under the Grey Lady’s skirts? I thought the NYT had a strict policy against that stuff, but then again David Pogue got caught taking money from tech companies and the Times kept him, so I guess it’s qu’elle surprise. Ditto with Tom Friedman being an investor in Kleiner Perkins and writing fatuous love-poems to Silicon Valley every third column.

    O tempora, o mores.

    P

    1. madchen vapid

      As a former NPR member station employee, I am not the least bit surprised. All of the money I used to give to NPR goes to NakedCapitalism.

  16. Hugh

    This post should be Davidson’s wikipedia entry. Quacks, charlatans, hacks, shills, stenographers, and other assorted propagandists and apologists depend on the public not knowing or not remembering the record of their transgressions. What a post like this does is it puts in one place enough of that record that it establishes the pattern of who and what the person is. So that they can’t run away from it or dismiss it as a few mistakes or a few instances taken out of context.

    As others have noted, Davidson is by no means an exception on NPR. NPR is as much a propaganda tool of the kleptocrats and their class war as anything over the air or on cable. It simply plays to a somewhat different audience.

    1. Klassy!

      NPR is as much a propaganda tool of the kleptocrats and their class war as anything over the air or on cable. It simply plays to a somewhat different audience.

      Making it all that much more useful for the kleptocrats.

  17. Adam K.

    Debka? Ha ha ha, using them as a reliable source… Seems to me like a serious guy… BTW, my first reaction to the realtime news claiming that the mosad was responsible for the attack in Bulgaria was the courtesy of debka

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Like a lot of disinformation sites Debka gets to scoop accurate information sometimes. It’s the 10% or so of the time when it is pushing disinformation that it’s dangerous. For example, it has been pushing false stories about Russian involvement in Syria.

      I assume World Net Daily is similar. I’ve always assumed it was a ridiculous site b/c I hang in mostly leftist places, but I’ve read it recently and it has the best information about Obama’s suspicious past (even though some of the commentary is silly–like the “communist” or Muslim connections).

      I suspect WND is being used to deliver truthful information about Obama (e.g. his birth certificate) but in a way that will make most people distrust it.

  18. Klassy!

    What exactly is a “neutral economist”?
    Anyway, this is good. Definitely right to go after the NPR “reporter”.
    Ugh NPR. The only time I listen to it is when I am capitve in my car on my commute. And only if there is nothing else on.
    The other day I heard some damn interview of some writer out of WV. He had just finished up the final volume of a trilogy based on his hardscrabble hometown. The interviewer was hell bent in making sure all her preconceived notions (and those of her audience) were confirmed. The writer was quite obliging. Oh those exotic Appalachians! There was some discussion of the lack of basic services in the town– no police force, crappy roads, etc. That would have been an interesting discussion but of course NPR lady wanted to talk about the fact that he didn’t know any blacks, jews, or gays and lesbians– and that the admission that he wanted to be a writer in his school would bring charges of “fag”. The fact that this could describe any number of schools in any part of America during the years he grew up escaped her. But more importantly what escaped her and her audience of symbolic analysts is that they probably don’t really interact with people that are different from them either– they may have grown up 1000 miles from their friends and colleagues but they’re probably a pretty homogenous bunch when it comes right down to it.

      1. Capo Regime

        The hard part about taking down Friedman is that you would have to read some of his drivel.

  19. Claire

    When I think of Adam Davidson and NPR (which fortunately isn’t very often) the word that comes to mind is “abhorrent”, defined as “disgusting, loathsome or repellent”.

  20. rotter

    “Milton Friedman’s libertarian grandson, Patri Friedman”

    Grand-SON?? really?? i hope he got beat up a lot.

  21. rotter

    This guy is probablt SHAMES biggest slimeball so far,(with all due respect to jonah goldberg and that guy with the Jew-Fro)

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