Occupy and Inequality: Zakaria Listens to CEOs

FireShot Screen Capture #634 - 'On GPS_ Blankfein on debt ceiling' - www_cnn_com_video_data_2_0_video_bestoftv_2013_10_09_exp-gps-blankfein-debt-ceiling_cnn_htmlCNN‘s Fareed Zakaria has a reputation as being what some might consider the Thinking Man’s Pundit.

It doesn’t really match up with his record, which is something more like the Wealthy Man’s Pundit–as in 2010, when he wrote a column defending Goldman Sachs, which the Washington Post helpfully headlined “Cool the Goldman Rage.”

Zakaria dedicated a portion of his October 13 CNN show to a discussion of income inequality and the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, with, wouldn’t you know it, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

As Zakaria noted, the segment was actually part of a discussion he moderated at the Clinton Global Initiative. In addition to Blankfein, Zakaria also spoke to Jim Rogers, the soon-to-be-retiring CEO of Duke Energy, and Denis O’Brien, who owns a company called Digicel.

Zakaria previewed the discussion by saying, “How did we get so unequal and what responsibility do corporations have to fix the problem?” Blankfein unsurprisingly comes out against the idea of “income redistribution” as a fix to inequality;  presumably he prefers to continue the way income is currently being redistributed–upward.

O’Brien, an Irish telecom billionaire, expresses some sympathy for Occupy–“I think we should be listening to some of the things that these people are saying.” It’s a somewhat odd message from someone who apparently changed his official residence to Malta for tax purposes (Village, 12/14/11).

In any event, the juxtaposition was certainly odd–listening to three people who benefit greatly from the upward redistribution of income musing about what should be done to combat the problem.  But perhaps it’s not a huge surprise; back in 2010, Zakaria hosted a special titled Restoring the American Dream. The guests? Four CEOs.


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.