May 4, 2013

Who Is Behind Planet Money?

      The Citizens Journalists Exchange blog thinks that the critics of the NPR hit piece on Social Security disability need to take off the kid gloves:
Just over a week ago,  my Twitter feed started getting bombarded with links to the latest — and quite possibly the scummiest — Planet Money/This American Life propaganda piece on NPR for the financial industry, disguised as highbrow progressive journalism.
The piece was called “Unfit For Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America” and it essentially argued — using wildly flawed research and straight-up lies — that our Social Security program is burdened by a glut of freeloader disability queens, faking their disabilities in order to live high on the Social Security disability insurance hog.
Why would NPR run such a flawed, biased story? The answer takes us right to the heart of Wall Street’s plans to privatize government benefits, which Wall Street bond holders want to slash for their own profits. This battle pits powerful Wall Street interests and their media and political lackeys on the one side, versus an overwhelming majority of Americans — Republicans and Democrats both — on the other. ... 
Planet Money has a serious conflict-of-interest problem when it reports on anything involving the banking sector. Planet Money’s sole sponsor, as of late last year, is Ally Bank (formerly GMAC), one of the world’s most toxic subprime lenders. Ally/GMAC preyed on Americans on the upside, then plundered taxpayers for over $17 billion in TARP bailout funds when their fraud schemes came crashing down. As we showed, the disturbing overlap between GMAC’s lobbying efforts against bank regulation bills, and Planet Money programs attacking that legislation and its promoters, means that Planet Money has essentially doubled as a sophisticated PR vessel targeting a key audience unaware of the Planet Money/NPR financial arrangement with the banking industry.
The corrupt arrangement caught the attention of the New York ObserverFairness and Accuracy in Media, and others. Planet Money, This American Life and NPR have all been party to journalistic fraud against their audience, and they’re laughing all the way to the bailed-out bank with the help of your NPR donation.
When you know that Planet Money’s sole sponsor is a predatory lender, this hit-piece on Social Security “disability queens” makes an appalling sort of sense. ...


Anonymous said...

"Journalistic fraud" in the USA? Say it isn't so! Oh, I guess you call it fraud if it doesn't follow or promote a certain mind-set or political agenda. Let us not examine and openly debate, it is much more fun to name call and be politically correct and play the blame game. Those of us in the field see a wide range of medical and economic and (dare I say) cultural and political factors that influence the disability decision process. Add into this mix the growth of the use of attorneys in this process (thank you local and national TV advertising campaigns). Those seeking reform and accountability want to preserve and protect disability benefit programs so they can continue.

Anonymous said...

It's actually FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) that helped expose the Ally/Planet Money link. FAIR often gets confused with the right-wing Accuracy in Media.