Mr. Bogle recently contributed an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal.
He spent an hour on Tom Ashbrook’s show, On Point.
With some doubts whether they are appropriate to this blog and apologies for their length, here are two comments I sent to Tom Ashbrook’s On Point regarding the John Bogle segment:
To Tom Ashbrook: The notion that this was a great show prompts me to write. John Bogle is arguably the greatest financial innovator and thinker alive. You have paired him in a he-said-she-said format with Steve Bartlett, a former Republican Congressman from Texas who is now a paid flack for the financial services industry.
You (Mr. Ashbrook) challenged none of Mr. Bartlett’s unsubstantiated statements — the financial services industry has curtailed its outrageous pay shedules, the financial services industry is interested in consumer rights, etc. — and listeners who called in, some of them in a fury, were simply cut off, and their comments were not addressed.
No one with even a rudimentary understanding of the part the financial services industry has played in the near collapse of the world economy would broadcast such a mismatch and then not ask follow-up questions or entertain the comments of its listeners. Thus John Bogle and an industry spokesperson get equal weight. Great show indeed.
Posted January 26th, 2010
All of the discussion generated here is obviated by the facts under discussion. All of it is in response to disingenuous propaganda for a failed industry by someone paid to put it in the best possible light.
Let Steve Bartlett and his employers take out full page ads in the Wall Street Journal. No one should have any objection to that. But to rephrase my earlier comment in a little sharper focus, Steve Bartlett should not have been chosen to air his bought-and-paid-for opinions on public radio, and at the very least, Tom Ashbrook should have asked him for facts to substantiate his claims and asked him to address the points expressed by those who called in.
What we have here is a case of journalism at its worst, and it is a shame that so many thoughtful, concerned listeners have felt obliged to respond to it on air and on this site in the way that they have.
Your comments here, folks, won’t make the financial services industry less greedy, they won’t make Steve Bartlett a better human being, and since you all completely missed the mark, they won’t improve the discourse on public radio.
We need to address the corrupt financial services industry, yes. But what we need to address far more is the irresponsible mass media. Unless we challenge it, and specifically in this case the air-the-flacks, take-no-sides format of public radio, you folks who care about what has happened to your country are going to spend a lot more of your future energy calling and writing in not only about misrepresentation of Wall Street excesses, but also about similar distortions of global warming, two gratuitous wars, public entitlement programs, and every other subject dear to the hearts of the mega-corporations that have taken over your country, including public radio.
Posted January 27th, 2010