Bringing the Wall St. crisis to Main St.

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Danny Schechter the "News Dissector" tells The Real News that the Wall St. crisis is about to become part of the political debate in America, from Hillary Clinton slamming money brokers to the FBI investigating mortgage fraud. As well, the media is also to blame for ignoring the problems until the market melted down.

Story Transcript

DANNY SCHECHTER, MEDIA CRITIC AND FILMMAKER: The Wall Street crisis so far has not been part of the political debate in America. Well, that’s about to change. The New York Sun reported that Wall Street is outraged because Hillary Rodham Clinton told an audience in Indiana that it was time to denounce the moneygrubbers on Wall Street and hold them responsible for the recession.

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Indianapolis, IN

May 4, 2008

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (D): Why don’t we hold the Wall Street money brokers responsible for their role in this recession? And I stood up to the oil companies. I voted against Dick Cheney’s energy bill.

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Now, Wall Street responded. The Clinton campaign qualified it and said they only meant moneylenders. If they had wanted to get more resonance, they might have said moneychangers, you know, as in the Temple. But they didn’t say that. The point is that there is an awareness now in mainstream America that Wall Street and what happened on Wall Street has had an impact on their lives, on not only foreclosures but rising prices and general economic insecurity that so many people feel as joblessness increases and the recession gets actually deeper. So Hillary Clinton inadvertently, even though she was supported by Wall Street, has triggered this, and I believe that we’ll see a lot more commentary on Wall Street’s responsibility for this crisis. I myself just a year ago was talking not about subprime but subcrime, suggesting that it was time for a full investigation and a prosecution of criminal activity on Wall Street. Earlier this week, on May 5, it was reported that the federal government has broadened its investigation, criminal investigation, into the mortgage frauds that were part of the subprime scandal. There’s a lot more attention being paid to this whole crisis ’cause it’s affecting so many people. Three million families now are said to be in danger of foreclosure. That’s a 50-state Katrina. Serious, serious problem. And so protests are starting. I was with a group of 300 homeowners organized by NACA, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, who actually invaded the lobby at Bear Stearns protesting the bailout, chanting, you know, "Main Street, not Wall Street."

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March 26, 2008

CHANTING: Main Street, not Wall Street.

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While I was there, CNBC, the business channel, was trying to interview some of the homeowners, and they didn’t want to talk to them.

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March 26, 2008

CNBC REPORTER: —protesting right now?

PROTESTOR: No.

SCHECHTER: Why hasn’t the media, your media, CNBC, focused its concerns on the homeowners, on the people who have been the victims in this crisis? You pay all your attention to the CEOs. You’re only really interested in the people at the top, which is your, you know, elite audience. You’re not interested in the people who are actually suffering in this story.

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Clearly this is a problem not just of the investment banks but also of the media, which failed to cover this crisis when it was happening. When these investment houses were making a fortune, billions of dollars, you know, on subprime lending, actually ripping off the poorest people in America to enrich the richest people in America, there was almost no coverage. It didn’t start until the market melted down in August 2007. So Americans had no idea that this was actually happening. And as a consequence, people are having a delayed shock at what’s actually happening to them in their lives—the rising gas prices, the rising food prices, the insecurity that everybody is facing about work, about savings, about what their money is worth or going to be worth, their 401k retirement plans, and the like. In other words, what started as manipulations and maneuvers on Wall Street has now moved to Main Street and will become the dominant issue of the year. There’s no question of that.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.