Why Oh Why Can’t We Have Better Press Corps Stooges?

By Dan Kervick

I really didn’t see the need to blog yesterday about this silly piece from Zach Goldfarb at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog. The whole bit reads like campaign boilerplate written in some White House office handling the Summers for Fed Chair 2013 campaign.

It’s a bullet list of the sort of broad-brush, something-for-everyone, content-poor “predictions” familiar from political brochures: “As President, Governor Smedley will work closely with both the business community and the representatives of American labor to fight for good jobs at good wages, while promoting competitiveness and labor flexibility.”  Goldfarb’s press release on behalf of Team Summers includes hilarious Onion-style political parody like this:

“But whether the crisis is at home or abroad, Summers would be unflinching in using every tool at his disposal to try to provide relief or stability to markets.”

“Summers has expressed skepticism that foreign banks accurately value their assets. He’d favor increase use of stress tests and better global accounting standards to reduce the risk of a foreign financial crisis that could reach U.S. shores.”

“While he’s likely to focus on employment while inflation remains low, he’ll be a hawk if inflation starts to rise much beyond the 2 percent target.”

You get the picture.

I doubt this White House circular will have much effect on people who aren’t already on Summers’s team.  Summers’s real life track record as an opponent of effective financial sector regulation, a key architect of the failed laissez faire revolution of the late 20th century which lead to the 2008 financial crash, a crony capitalist insider flak and aficionado of revolving door profiteering, and a poor manager of Harvard University is too well known by now.

As Jeffrey Sachs tweeted today:

“With Summers, it’s Obama+Wall Street vs. the people. Unreal to have Summers nominated after bubble-crash-bailout.”

And Dean Baker also has Wapo pegged:

If one were to list the people most responsible for the country’s dismal economic state few people other than Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin would rank higher than Larry Summers. After all, Summers was a huge proponent of financial deregulation in the 1990s and the last decade. He was a cheerleader for the stock bubble and never expressed any concerns about the housing bubble. He thought the over-valued dollar was good policy (and therefore also the enormous trade deficit that inevitably follows), and he was unconcerned that an inadequate stimulus would lead to a dismal employment picture long into the future.

However President Obama apparently wants to appoint Summers as Fed chair, so the Post is rising to the occasion and busily re-writing history. 

But Summers’s colleague and supporter Brad DeLong, usually so critical of Washington Post economic falderal, passes Goldfarb’s stenography along without comment.

Why oh why can’t we have better stooges in the blogosphere and press corps?

Cross-posted from Rugged Egalitarianism

Follow @DanMKervick

5 responses to “Why Oh Why Can’t We Have Better Press Corps Stooges?

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