NYT Should Talk to Those Liberal Activists Who Oppose Helping Poor African Women

Reporting on variousWhite House personnel changes, specifically the idea that Clinton administration veteran Gene Sperlingwill soon head the National Economic Council, the New York Times explains (1/6/11):

Mr. Sperling, much like Mr. Obama, is a liberal but with a pragmatic bent.

“Pragmatic,” in corporate media code, means “centrist,” because it’s an article of faith in journalistic circles that smart Democrats move away fromtheir progressive base.

The Times adds:

Some liberal activists have opposed his becoming the director because of his openness to compromise with Republicans, and because he once was a well-paid consultant to Goldman Sachs, managing a charitable program to teach skills to poor women in Africa and elsewhere.

If a piece is supposed to explain what “liberal activists” think of Sperling and others,a reporter should go ahead and ask some of them. Instead the Times makes it sound like progressives dislike Sperling’s work to help poor African women.

For an actual critique of Sperling’s record,check Dean Baker’s blog:

The primary issue is not that Sperling got $900,000 from Goldman Sachs for part-time work, although that does look bad. The primary issue is that Sperling thought, and may still think, that the policies that laid the basis for the economic collapse were just fine.

Sperling saw nothing wrong with the stock market bubble that laid the basis for the 2001 recession. The economy did not begin to create jobs again until two and half years after the beginning of this recession, and even then it was only due to the growth of the housing bubble. Gene Sperling also saw nothing wrong with the growth of that bubble. Gene Sperling also saw nothing wrong with the financial deregulation of the Clinton years which, by the way, helped make Goldman Sachs lots of money. And he saw nothing wrong with the over-valued dollar which gave the United States an enormous trade deficit. This trade deficit undermined the bargaining power of manufacturing workers and helped to redistribute income upward.

In short, Sperling has a horrible track record of supporting policies that were bad for the country and good for Wall Street.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.