Monday, May 4, 2009

Basta !

Frank Rich had it exactly right in yesterday's column about Obama at 100 days: enough already!  But they're not listening (yet) over on Eighth Avenue, witness the Sunday Magazine's horrendous puff piece/'interview' about the Obama Economy and now, today, we have a feature on Obama's mother-in-law and how nice life can be as First Grandma in the executive mansion.  OK OK, we DO love him (and Michelle and the girls and the dog), but the media--and specifically the NYT--needs to get back to doing its job.  Questioning, probing, challenging, investigating.

I agree with 95% of the general direction the Obamites are taking us---we're looking at 20+ years of neglect to grapple with serious infrastructure, education, health care, national economic policy etc etc., so there's a lot to do.  And the media have a key role in holding the government's feet to the fire on both process and results issues.  Let's hope we do---so far, the track record is pathetic.

Let's start with the financial rescue of the banks and the auto companies and the entire range of issues re: accountability for the $$ that We the People have loaned/invested/donated (take your pick) to key players to get them back on their feet.  Where has the money gone---and how much of a right to know do we have, under the circumstances where public $$ are floating public companies, which do, after all, have vested interests in secrecy, prorietary data, and the like?  Hundreds of billions of national treasure are flowing into the sluicegate and I have heard no challenges in press conferences or Oval Office interviews about how we are to know whether this is working properly or not.

The Chrysler bankruptcy deal leaves disturbing fumes in its aftermath.  Who exactly is calling the shots in the new ownership structure, and how will corporate governance work at a business where the workers' pension fund owns over 50% of the enterprise.  Is the public good synonymous with workers' interests in this scenario?  And, if so or if not, who is empowered to make those decisions and when do we cut the cord if recovery is deemed hopeless?  

The items above are just two of a dozen lines of questioning that come to mind.  More to come in subsequent posts.

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