On CNBC and Rick Santelli’s ‘Losers’

Ryan Chittum of CJR.org holds up (2/19/09) Rick Santelli’s recent CNBC tantrum as “an example of what’s wrong with a certain kind of financial journalism, the kind where people of like backgrounds spend all day staring at tickers and interviewing each other. As such, Chittum says, “the segment couldn’t more clearly illustrate the disconnect between the financial-services sector, certain financial journalists and, you know, ‘reality'”:

What sent Santelli, CNBC‘s hot-air, oops, “On-Air Editor,” over the edge? The homeowner bailout. Of course, he didn’t get himself into nearly this much of a lather over the trillions of dollars we’ve given to Wall Street welfare cases and the busted banks. Oh no. He’s mad that non-financial-service-professionals, otherwise known as homeowners, or, according to Santelli “losers,” are up now for help–to the tune of $275 billion, much of which would go to the banks anyway….

But then, this may be a symptom of a wider disease. We at [CJR‘s] the Audit have written repeatedly about the blame-the-homeowners meme that’s been so popular in misdirecting people away from the real culprits in the crisis: the financial-services boiler rooms that created all those junk mortgages and bundled them into crap securities for sale to all-too-trusting rubes (aka “clients”) around the world.

Looking at the “powerful undercurrent of outrage from some people who are paying their mortgages (or renting) who disdain those who aren’t or can’t,” Chittum is compelled to explain exactly “what’s going on here”: “This homeowner bailout isn’t really even aimed at easing people’s suffering. It’s aimed at the banks, whose downward spiral will not stop until the housing market stabilizes.”

Read FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “Scapegoating Minorities for Failures of Banking: Blaming CRA Makes Little Sense, but Gets Finance Industry Off the Hook” (1/09) by Mary Kane