Media Push Consumerism Over Consumer Rights

In looking at “How Our Gutless Media Helped Trigger the Credit Crisis,” Trudy Lieberman examines (Columbia Journalism Review, 11/20/08) “just one piece of evidence of the decline of the consumer movement, the rise of consumerism to replace it and the media’s role in both trends.” Lieberman recalls then-New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s veto of a state bill to curb exactly the type of usurious credit card interest rates which “pile on debt that has contributed to mortgage foreclosures.”

Whatever the merits of Spitzer’s argument, it was an important discussion for New York and the rest of the country. But his veto was like the proverbial tree falling in the empty forest. The AP‘s Albany bureau sent out no story, and the news editor does not recall why. A Nexis search found only one brief mention of the veto, in the Albany Times Union.

In short, “Spitzer sided with the banks and the media were silent.”

Read about Lieberman’s Slanting the Story: The Forces that Shape the News in Extra!: “Inside the News Shapers: New Book Exposes Right-Wing Think Tanks’ Media Strategy” (7-8/00) by Peter Hart