Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nothing Like a Televised Temper Tantrum to Draw Attention to a Media Whore

First MSNBC's Jim Cramer got on his televised soapbox and lobbied to become the next Securities and Exchange Commission chair. Now he's raising hell because there's no disclosure as to how the bailout monies received by the banking titans like Citigroup is being spent:

The media whoring is so blatant, you'd swear he's contracted a social disease.

The basis for his latest media tantrum was a report from the Associated Press, where reporters contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four specific, discrete questions:

How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers. Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going.

The evasiveness in itself highlights the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion -- about the size of the Netherlands' economy -- to help rescue the financial industry. There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. Worse, there is no process in place to make sure that's happening and there are no consequences for banks who don't comply.

And nearly every bank AP questioned -- including Citibank and Bank of America, two of the largest recipients of bailout money -- responded with generic public relations statements explaining that the money was being used to strengthen balance sheets and continue making loans to ease the credit crisis.

And still, you got blowhards like Jim Cramer and Lou Dobbs exploiting the situation on their soapboxes just to score brownie points with the viewing audience and stoking emotions in them to make them mad as hell, just like they did in the 1976 movie Network.

It all boils down to this: Pandering is pandering, be it a street-walker, a Congressman, or an agiprop wannabe.

As for Jim Cramer, I see him for who he really is: A loudmouthed exhibitionist a strip-search away from being full-blown monty.

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