Your Humble Blogger Appears on RT’s “Truthseeker”

I’ve been violating the Gore Vidal rule of media (“never turn down the opportunity to have sex or be on TV”) but in Vidal’s day, TV was broadcast, with mass audiences and major impact. Trust me, if you blink, you’ll miss the bit where I make a couple of observations in this new RT show.

I’m not sure how I feel about this program. The striving-for-sensationalism posture undercuts the credibility they should garner via featuring high caliber guests. Things are so bad, I’m not sure tarting it up helps, at least with an American audience. And when they interviewed me, they were pushing for me to say US deposits are at risk, and they appear not to have been happy with my stressing that uninsured deposits were and are at risk, and are even more so by virtue of the 2005 bankruptcy law changes, which make derivatives counterparties senior to depositors by making them secured creditors. Plus the lighting sucked. But some of the other interviewees, such as Bill Black and Dean Baker) did make interesting observations, so I anticipate most reader will enjoy this segment

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  1. Max424

    Gary Busey gets more air time –and better lighting too!– than Smith, Black, Baker, and Kelton. That’s all you need to know about this program.

    Then again, 12 minutes and a few grand in production was all it took for The Truthseeker to sum up the world economic situation accurately. By contrast, if you gave the Main Stream Media billions of dollars and several million hours to discern its ass from its elbow, it wouldn’t stand a chance.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this.

    1. Bill Smith

      TV is TV. 12 minutes of sound bites in a row is pretty good if you ask me.

      Now if you want a movie, in the US we get the Peterson produced IOUUSA.

      Personally, I think we should send Tarantino to Russia and do Kill America’s Bills. Uma Thurman tracks down TBTF bank CEO’s one by one and finds the $32 trillion in hidden offshore money. Then she donates it to the Treasury, but first gets a signed statement from the TSec, cosigned by the POTUS, that they agree not to give it back to the banks.

      Can’t be too careful. Get everything in writing!

  2. Chris-Engel

    Holy shit…I feel like I’ve just been sprayed with a machine gun after watching this!

    Epileptics be forewarned :P

    I understand the need to “sex up” issues that normally are ignored because of the nuance and wonk involved.

    But for myself personally, i would have preferred the 12 minutes to be a discussion between yourself and the “host” where the details are fleshed out more clearly.

    This is just a rapid-fire BING-BANG-BOOM approach, which maybe is necessary to help attract the attention of the low-attention-span modern generation?

    I don’t know…either way, it can’t hurt to have the right information out there in different formats.

    1. AbyNormal

      agree Chris…Yves deserves more air time but the bangbang format is fitting for many viewers. i say use every media tool available! TPTB are cramming their spin that WE are the problem but the reality is WE ARE THE SOLUTION they inevitably don’t want.

      way to go Yves!

  3. rob

    sure, this program runs to the sensational.But damn if it isn’t right on.I am glad there are outlets like NC where those yearning for the nuance of the crimes being committed can be parsed and explained at length. in a fashion that those who consider themselves sticklers for facts can’t even deny.I wish more people would take the time to look.
    The “candy” presented in this tv program at least portrays the stark reality that is today.
    For those of us who are already here, this is a snapshot of pictures we’ve all seen before,everyday…but the rest of the populations need to be informed that that gut feeling they have that they are being set-up and ripped off and then hung out to dry,is in fact the way it is.And a serious a-hole like blankfein shouldn’t be able to show his face in public without getting his head kicked in.The same goes for the rest of “them”.Lets end the “civilized” reaction to scum.These people are stealing the food out of the mouth of our children and elders as well as ourselves,it is time to stop being nice.There is no court in the land for people like them.the world over.

  4. Clive

    I understand your qualms Yves (the media is definitely a double-edged sword) but my hunch in all this is that it’s a case of “no publicity is bad publicity” (can’t recall who said that, but it fits here as the more people who are aware of the issues in the piece, however over-sensationalised, the more chance of them wished to gain a fuller understanding; but if people aren’t aware, they just aren’t aware).

  5. Susan the other

    32 trillion? Really? I thought I’d heard everything but that amount is pretty unbelievable.

  6. Charles Rock

    Hard hitting. Nice to see the guest commentators normally ignored by US larger mainstream outlets. I watch RT quite a bit, often to see what the official view of US is (mainly on foreign affairs) but also for people I rarely see on US media I have available here (Time Warner cable).

    Just a footnote, not a critique of appearing on RT:
    RT (English services) is not bad on uncovering the dirt in America, but back home in Moscow (in Russian) it is not the case, more celebration of upbeat stories on mother Russia and its thoughtful leadership.
    Russian friends who have some familiarity with the US mainstream media often claim that for critical coverage of Russia they go to foreign media, even US sources, while for better critical US coverage, even the Kremlin-corralled news media is on target covering US stories. At home, RT, is something like a Russian version of Fox News during its heyday in the years of W.Bush (Putinophilia by business/control necessity). Too bad viewers in both countries have less homegrown critique in the biggest media broadcasters, or even on almost all cable news channel offerings by domestic media.

  7. Pelham

    Urgent question:

    My wife and I have something approaching an amount that would see us through a few years of retirement. And we’re nearing the age at which we’ll be unemployable.

    So my question is, generically speaking, where should we put our money? Other than an insured savings account in a bank, which doesn’t keep pace with inflation, nothing looks safe. Everywhere else we might go, we would be unsecured creditors, right?

    1. Benedict@Large

      The only zero default risk investment is US bonds. (Pay no attention to the Cantor crowd. Wall Street would NEVER allow them to actually carry thru their threats.) Of course, US bonds are not paying enough to match inflation, but that’s what you have to pay to avoid default risk.

      1. Pelham

        Thank you. I thought the answer would be something like that. Too bad that, at this stage and at this sorry juncture in the global economy, we’ve been reduced to this.

  8. Teejay

    Fox style graphics, sound effects and theme music as well as the host with his tight jeans and baritone melodramatic delivery sadly distract from some excellent content.

  9. Howard Beale IV

    Fascinating that they named the offshore countries where these so-called ‘assets’ are held. Imagine the panic if some superpower offered them statehood.

  10. diptherio

    How much speed are you supposed to take before watching this? Eiieee….

    Some media coverage is better than no coverage, but this is pretty low-brow stuff (maybe not low-brow exactly but you know what I mean). Just so long as you’re not putting off something important to appear, I guess, it probably doesn’t hurt.

    Honestly, I wonder who the demographic for this show is supposed to be. I can’t think of a single person I know who would want to watch it. Too speedy for the bright ones and too boring (finance?…yawn) for the others. Maybe the Russians have a different aesthetic…

  11. James Cole

    The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act did not make derivative counterparties secured creditors. It just exempted the termination, setoff and netting of contracts between the debtor and its counterparty from the automatic stay. Derivatives counterparties are secured only to the extent they actually hold collateral; otherwise they are unsecured and pari passu with other unsecured creditors.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t want to unpack the secured v. unsecured bit, but I see that as implicit in all collateralized lending. They didn’t even want to hear about insured v. uninsured depositors. You think RT would have any tolerance for the details of the 2005 BK law changes? You are secured only to the extent you have a security interest and in a BK the secured lenders are senior but have any unsecured portion treated as unsecured and written down. The major exception, peculiarly, is mortgage debt on primary residences in recourse states (and refied mortgages become recourse too).

  12. Kim Kaufman

    Well, if it’s any comfort to Yves, I think Dean Baker looked especially bad. Bad lighting, yes, but also weird camera lens, especially on him. And his clip was shorter than Yves’. Black and Eskow are real pros at this stuff because they do it a lot. But I thought Yves was great. I know oher people who have been guests on shows and they often feel slighted, the “good stuff” cut out. Thom Hartmann has a show on RT. I rarely watch TV and don’t even know what station it’s on. I’ve seen clips on my computer and he doesn’t look that great and the show looks cheap. He’s a much better radio broadcaster. Otherwise, it seems that RT is a very popular YouTube news show. So this show seems in line with that venue. My understanding is that RT is a lot better at reporting on the U.S. than on its home turf, same as Al Jazeera. But Al Jazeera I think is aiming for CNN-type mainstream credibility (and AJ is really terrible on the US economy issues, just like CNN and other msm) whereas RT is apparently OK with YouTube. Any message out there on our side is a win. And I think Yves should do as much TV and radio as she can. Forget doing your own podcast for right now… let the professionals do the work for you. There are a lot of places you can be on right now, especially in connection with the e-book, that would be helpful to get the message out there.

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