Study in Bias: Two Takes on Financial Regs -- Journal vs. NY Times

It’s a topic that would probably make the average individual’s eyes glaze over, but will have a profound impact on the economy – for better or worse. The topic – financial regulation reform.

With Senate Banking Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., setting his proposal out for the public, the take away on the reporting from two of the country’s major newspapers – The New York Times and Wall Street Journal can give readers a view where their reporters’ loyalties lie.

On CNBC’s March 15 “Squawk Box,” co-host Joe Kernen raised this point – the Journal with its more pro-Wall Street point of view and the Times with a liberal pro-Democratic Party one.

“You – I like the way you highlighted the Journal's take, ‘Ohh, this thing is ahh, much worse,’ but The New York Times – ‘consensus-building,’” Kernen said. “But The New York Times is talking about consensus-building within the Democratic Party, I think, right? I mean, normally that's who they're speaking to, isn't it?”

But this led Kernen to raise a larger point about The New York Times in general – with a milquetoast conservative columnist in David Brooks and Howell Raines recent remarks about Fox News.

“David Brooks is their conservative,” Kernen said. “David Brooks is the Times conservative, it’s like he’s a conservative Democrat. I love Howell Raines quotes, too. Howell Raines, did you see some of his quotes?”

Kernen accused the Times of coming from “the left with propaganda” in the past and said it’s the Times own fault for creating a niche for a conservative Fox News audience, which he deemed “the yin and yang of the world.”

“I'm not even going to get into it – I can't, I can’t even get into it,” Kernen said. “But the reason that a space was saved for a place like Fox News was because of the left being staked out by The New York Times over the years, over the years, over the years coming from the left with propaganda. And yet, he has the nerve to talk about Fox News.”

Not surprisingly, almost to script, CNBC’s senior economics reporter, who has openly came things from a pro-government interventionist perspective took the Times side on this issue.

LIESMAN: When you look at The New York Times story, I kind of get their point of view and my reporting kind of backs it up.
KERNEN: Are we supposed to hold the presses that you get the Times point of view?
LIESMAN: No. Hold on a second, I want to be clear here. What he is doing, as I said in my report, he's choosing to go with votes on his left rather than votes on his right while keeping things open in case the Republicans want to come to the table. So as I quoted a source saying, it reflects his conversations with [Sen. Bob] Corker, but it's not a bipartisan bill. Does that make sense? I mean, it's not easily labeled.

Dodd’s bill, lacking bipartisan support, would create a consumer protection division within the Federal Reserve, crackdown on banks certain so-called “speculative trade practices,” unwind institutions deemed “too big to fail,” monitor systemic risk, give the Security and Exchange Commission the authority to regulate corporate governance and require large hedge funds to be registered with the federal government.


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