McNay on Money

A New York Times View of Kentucky

By: Don McNay
By: Don McNay

The headline on the Rural Blog, for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues,based at the University of Kentucky, said "NY Times misses point in story on Main Street versus Wall Street in regulatory battle."

We can try to understand
The New York Times effect on man
 
-Bee Gees

The headline on the Rural Blog, for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues,based at the University of Kentucky, said  "NY Times misses point in story on Main Street versus Wall Street in regulatory battle."
 
That is a vast and gross understatement. 
 
The blog points to a story by David Herszenhorn.
 
 Mr Herszenhorn plopped down in   Louisville, home of Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell. He saw a few branches of "too big to fail" banks or projects that got money from Wall Street firms.  
 
This caused Mr. Herszenhorn to leap to the conclusion that "Main Street seems less an innocent victim of Wall Street in the financial crisis of 2008 than a savvy counterparty, whose own dealings contributed to the days of easy credit and overinflated real estate prices that led to the collapse."
 
Huh?  
 
How did he come to that conclusion?     Sounds like he wrote it on the plane before he got here.
 
If Herszenhorn had gone to  Baton Rouge instead of Louisville,   I suspect he would have saw a few BP stations and concluded that Main Street in Baton Rouge was"counterparty" to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
McConnell lives in Louisville but represents all of Kentucky, including my town of Richmond, 70 miles away. 
 
I can look out from my office and see Richmond's entire Main Street.   I see one  branch of a "too big to fail" bank that got bailout money.   I can a two branches of regional banks that got bailout money along the way.
 
Other than that, I don't see any high powered Wall Street types, throwing their money around on my Main Street.  I'm sure it's the same on thousands of other Main Streets across the United States. 
 
Many of us are participating in the "Move Your Money" campaign that Arianna Huffington started as we want to minimize Wall Street's the small amount of  Wall Street  influence that does exist.
 
I've been opposed to the bailouts from the first day because I knew it was an inside deal for Washington and Wall Street.  The rest of us were not invited to the party. We were only expected to pay for it.
 
Having David Herszenhorn wander around Louisville for a few hours is not going to change that view.
 
Herszenhorn might want to take a look at Michael Lewis's book, The Big Short or "Too Big to Fail" by his fellow New York Times staffer Andrew Ross Sorkin.   I can't see where Main Street is responsible for the greed, recklessness and decision making outlined in those books.
 
It's like blaming a murder victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 
Although I strongly disagree with Mr. Herszenhorn's opinion, I really question the judgment of the editor, or editors, who assigned him to the story. 
 
 Looking at Mr. Herszenhorn's biography on  ProCon.org, it shows that before working for the New York Times, he went to high school in Queens, went to college at Dartmouth and currently lives in Douglastown,  New York.
 
The perfect guy to assign to a story about Kentucky's Main Street.  
 
 I hope they gave him a map.
 
Since I am a Democrat who voted for President Obama, I'm not prone to New York Times bashing.  I read it everyday and some of the greatest journalists to walk the planet, like Joe Nocera, write for it.  
 
The Rural blog said that "The New York Times often provides the best rural coverage of any national news organization, because it has the staff and the editorial interest required to do the coverage."
 
I have to agree.   The Rural blog also said that "sometimes the paper misses by a mile."
 
That is certainly the case with Herszenhorn's story.  
 
It seemed like he was using any hook, no matter how flimsy, to justify the Wall Street bailout that the Washington and New York elite pushed through and now try to justify.
 
The New York Times can keep pumping out stories like Herszenhorn's.  Time Magazine can keep putting Ben Bernanke on its cover as "Man of the Year." The New York centric media can keep telling us over and over again that the bailouts were good for Main Street.
 
We are not going to believe it.
 
I feel like the eastern elites are trying a stunt best described by Lyndon Johnson. 
 
They are trying to "piss on our  boots and tell us  it's raining."
 
Sitting here on Main Street, I don't see the rain.
 
You can read more about Don at www.donmcnay.com

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