AP‘s story (1/28/10) on Ben Bernanke’s reconfirmation as chair of the Federal Reserve states plainly what is more usually the unstated assumption in corporate media coverage of the Fed:
The battle over Bernanke’s confirmation has been a test of central bank independence, a crucial element if the Fed is to carry out unpopular but economically essential policies.
From this perspective, the Federal Reserve is an organization of financial philosopher kings who must be insulated from democracy in order to do what is best for us. There is another way to look at it, of course: that the Fed essentially represents the interests of the financial industry, and that its independence is crucial if it is to carry out unpopular but economically very profitable policies–such as maintaining the value of money, otherwise known as fighting inflation, by keeping people out of work who would otherwise be employed. You will not often find this alternative perspective discussed in corporate media.