Taibbi’s piece in Rolling Stone essentially argued that the Obama administration has completely sold the country out to Wall St, and more specifically, Goldman Sachs. The article is extremely well researched and provides specifics of exactly how bailout money was funneled into various banks, who made the deals, and who has the President’s ear. Fernholz wrote a scathing piece in The American Prospect accusing Taibbi of shoddy journalism and failing to properly fact check his work.
You can read the back and forth with the links above, but I’ll chuck my two cents in. Firstly, arguments revolve around specifics that only people with real inside knowledge could understand. So I can’t claim to know who is more accurate on the details. However, Taibbi’s defense of his article seems very fair – that Fernholz isn’t actually saying anything, and doesn’t really have a problem with any of the facts, just interpretation. Here’s a good example:
The Prospect writer recounts exactly the same facts and somehow
makes it sound like there is an error somewhere. See if you can
understand the point of this passage:
“Neither did Karen Kornbluh, who had served as Obama’s
policy director and was instrumental in crafting the Democratic Party’s
platform.” The reasons why Kornbluh didn’t get a job remain unclear,
but she lost her influence earlier in the year while Obama campaign and
she remained in Washington as his Senate Office policy director and
later at the DNC, where she played an important role by crafting the
2008 Democratic platform. She has recently been nominated as U.S.
Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and
So in other words while I reported that Kornbluh had been a key
voice in the campaign only to lose influence and ultimately get shipped
off to the OECD, the truth is that she was a key voice in the campaign
who lost her influence and ultimately got shipped off to the OECD. Am I
Fernholz’s article is full of counterpoints like this, and it seems he is bashing Taibbi for the sake of bashing him. While Fernholz’s article is certainly worth reading, I’d like to see something more substantive if we’re going to take the notion that Obama really is taking it to the banking industry. He isn’t, and his Presidency is in real danger if he continues to be dictated to by Wall St.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.