There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Tom Ashbrook – Biased?

I listen to NPR almost every day, and I like the show On Point with Tom Ashbrook. There is usually a good discussion about current events, and there’s a minimum of commercials which is a trademark of NPR. However, Ashbrook’s coverage of the recent financial crisis has been biased in my opinion. He approaches the topic with the presumption that deregulation and capitalism running wild were the root causes of the whole mess, and that the economic experts of the world have reached a unanimous consensus that we need to have more, smarter regulations. It is as if the debate is over, if there ever was one.

As a further example, today Ashbrook had a guest on (I’m not sure who), and they were discussing Bernard Madoff, the investment firm manager who was recently charged with securities fraud which led to the collapse of his $50 billion dollar alleged Ponzi scheme. A caller told Ashbrook that he was an investment manager, and said that his biggest problems were the regulations. He was basically drowning in paperwork and legal overhead, and his business could be much more efficient if there were fewer regulations. Ashbrook replied (I’m paraphrasing from memory),

“Ha, what?! Less regulation?! That doesn’t really jive at all with what we’re seeing here caller!”

The caller continued to explain his point very well. He said that all firms have to be diligent in filing their paperwork, or else the SEC and other overseers will be on them. So they have a big incentive to do those things on time. But the problem is that while the government is checking that you filed your forms, nobody is checking to see whether you are telling the truth on those forms. There is really no way for anyone to know. Hence, everyone is burdened by the regulation overhead, but the liars still lie. I thought it was a really interesting point, but Ashbrook basically laughed him off the phone.

I think part of what happened in the Madoff case is that people believed that as a stock broker/dealer, he was operating under strict regulations, and that made them feel their investments were safe. After all, how can one commit fraud when there’s all that government oversight? Maybe the regulations created a moral hazard.

I guess you would say that Tom Ashbrook was defending a liberal position while I may be defending a conservative, or libertarian, or free-market position. And some may say that I shouldn’t be surprised that NPR is showing favoritism toward the liberal idea. Well, at least they don’t get any government funding.

December 17, 2008   10 Comments

Palin Can’t Get a Fair Shake

I’m not the biggest Sarah Palin fan, but I know media bias when I see it (or when someone else points it out).  Bill O’Reilly first mentioned this on his show – Sarah Palin was interviewed by Drew Griffin on CNN, and Griffin misquoted a National Review article written by Byron York.  Read those two pieces for yourself.  Basically, York was clearly referring to media bias in his article, while Drew Griffin from CNN portrayed the article as being critical of Palin herself.  Griffin then used this information to blindside Palin, who responded with surprise, understandably, because the accusation was untrue.  Apparently there has been no retraction or apology from CNN at this time.

October 22, 2008   No Comments