Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Rant: Liberal Media Whore Michael Kinsley Defends Goldman Sachs


The other day I took Atlantic Wire scribe Jen Doll to task for writing an op-ed piece defending the Morgan Stanley banker who stabbed a cab driver over a disputed fare. I called out the ridiculously named Ms. Doll for using her media platform to defend a rich scumbag who certainly didn't need any help from her supposedly liberal publication. But I now feel I must offer Ms. Doll an apology, for she really is far too low in the media food chain for me to be picking on the way I did. Nobody really cares about the opinions of a glorified blogger who apparently spends a lot of her time when not kissing Wall Street ass writing about mindless pop culture.

Instead, I'd rather readjust my aim and go for some really big game. That means it's your turn, Michael Kinsley, formerly the house liberal on CNN's long departed but unlamented political debate show, Crossfire. Kinsley left CNN to become a founding editor for Slate, yet another in a long line corporate propaganda outlets masquerading as part of the supposedly "liberal media." Working for billionaire Bill Gates (and being married to another Gates flunky) must really agree with Kinsley, because he recently took a new job as a mouthpiece for billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an editor of his eponymous business publication.

First, let's set the stage. Everyone knows by now that former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith made quite a splash last week when he wrote a damning op-ed piece for the New York Times called "Why I'm Leaving Goldman Sachs." Almost immediately after the article appeared, Michael Bloomberg was, not surprisingly, condemning it and heaping praise upon the "vampire squid." Meanwhile, Bloomberg the magazine published an unsigned editorial blasting Smith:
It must have been a terrible shock when Smith concluded that Goldman actually was primarily about making money. He spares us the sordid details, but apparently it took more than a decade for the scales to finally fall from his eyes. ...

...[W]hat an employee! He worked at Goldman as an intern in college and worked there continuously until today. “I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world.” Then there was being “a Rhodes Scholar national finalist” and “winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics.”

We have some advice for Smith, as well as the thousands of college students who apply to work at Goldman Sachs each year: If you want to dedicate your life to serving humanity, do not go to work for Goldman Sachs. That’s not its function, and it never will be. Go to work for Goldman Sachs if you wish to work hard and get paid more than you deserve even so. (Or if you want to make your living selling derivatives but don’t know what a derivative is, as Smith concedes in passing that he didn’t at first.)
Wow, pretty harsh, eh? Probably written by someone who worked in the business and is taking umbrage at his old buddies being attacked, right?

Wrong. The author of the hit job on Greg Smith was none other than Mr. Resident Liberal on Crossifire himself, Michael Kinsley. Here is Politico with the details:
Michael Kinsley, the former editor of the New Republic and former columnist at the Washington Post, is the author of the recent Bloomberg View editorial that chastised former disgruntled Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith, he confirmed by phone today.

"I just proposed, and the editor-in-chief David Shipley liked it, so I did it," Kinsley, now an editor at Bloomberg View, told me.

The editorial is attributed to "The Editors," which led to some speculation that Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- owner of the Bloomberg media empire -- had been behind the editorial, given his own public defense of Goldman Sachs last week. But Kinsley said Bloomberg (the man) had nothing to do with it.

"Any thought that this was Bloomberg protecting his friend [Goldman CEO] Lloyd Blankfein is ludicrous," he said.
Yeah, that's Michael Kinsley, a real man of the people all right. This is what happens when you've been whoring yourself out to billionaires for so long that you don't even recognize it as whoring anymore. Kinsley didn't even need his new boss to tell him to write a blistering editorial defending the biggest enemy of working and middle class people in America, he just instinctively KNEW that it would please Mayor .0000001 Percenter. Note the sly way he chides Smith by saying, "If you want to dedicate your life to serving humanity, do not go to work for Goldman Sachs," as if Smith was a naif who had no idea what he was getting into when he went to work for the firm. In this way, Kinsley can plausibly claim that he wasn't actually defending Goldman Sachs, but merely blasting Smith for having an unrealistically idealist world view.

But here is the quote from Kinsley that is particularly galling:
"I didn't know it would be such a big deal when I wrote the piece," he added. "I just read Smith's piece and thought it was funny."
Yep--it was pretty damn funny, Micahel, you fake liberal fuck. Just like it was pretty damn funny when those derivatives Goldman Sachs was pedaling to its clients KNOWING that they were dodgy helped crash the whole fucking economy back in 2008 and cost millions of working and middle class Americans their jobs. The same working and middle class Americans that liberals like you profess to actually give a shit about. And it was even funnier when those same working and middle class Americans were asked to fork over $700 billion of their tax money to save the very same financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, from their own bad acts. And goddam if isn't just hysterical that NO ONE from Goldman Sachs has been prosecuted for all of this rampant fraud and that they continued to receive millions of dollars in bonuses even after the taxpayer bailouts. I'm sure the 46 million people on food stamps, the numerous college graduates with six-figure student loan debts who can't find a decent job, the retirees whose pensions are being gutted, the underwater homeowners and the increasingly desperate wage earners whose 401K accounts have been bouncing up and down like a yo-yo are laughing their asses off right along with you.

It would be one thing if this drivel had been written by a conservative cretin like your fellow Crossfire alum, the late Robert Novak. You expect a life long toady to power like him to carry the water of billionaire assholes. But when it comes from someone with a reputation as a respected liberal commentator, it is far more insidious. With the likes of you inside the tent, the liberal and progressive movement can truly make use of the Walt Kelly saying from the old comic strip, Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."


Bonus: At least when The Who sold out, they still fucking ROCKED

8 comments:

  1. I just discovered the brilliant Mr. Fish:

    http://www.clowncrack.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/HopeForWork.jpg

    Maybe his cartoons will give you a laugh!

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    1. Gail - that's awesome in a dark humor kind of way.

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  2. Other than the forum:Llamedos, I haven't come across anyone that blames the 2008 crash on derivative betting and subsequent fraud by Goldman Sachs and the other big banks as the actual cause. More often I hear that the real estate bubble popped because a blue collar worker carelessly (was enabled) bought a 500K home and couldn't handle it. That the irresponsible consumer, not the banks, was responsible for the crash.

    That's what I hear in South MS. (rolling eyes)

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    1. Yep--the propaganda works brilliantly.

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  3. This also makes me think of the manner in which most media approved "liberals" denigrate true fights against what I would call evil.

    They mock anyone with less than an ironic outlook (Smith shoulda known G-S was just there to make money, silly little guy). They occupy a moral wasteland and then have the gall to make fun of anyone who views this life as anything but a jaded tip-toe through corruption. Nothing can be done so embrace it and laugh insufferably, they seem to say.

    That seems to be the way the continue to endorse frauds like Obama-that you simply can't expect anything honorable. It's an awful worldview, almost like a revisit of some sort of predestination! It certainly does marginalize those who demand decency (and then slap the liberal label on the messengers and its a real mindfuck)

    This guy is a media whore, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does find it "funny" that Smith would take umbrage at G-S behavior.

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  4. I’m sorry but I gotta take a contrarian view here. Not to defend Kinsley – I agree he is a faux-progressive Quisling of the most odious kind – but with respect to the editorial. Because Greg Smith is also an odious hypocrite. So in that sense the Bloomberg editorial is facially correct (though the intention behind it is certainly diabolical).

    I’m surprised that Mr. Smith is garnering so much sympathy in the “progressive” mainstream media (even Matt Taibbi heaps praise on him), though I guess I shouldn’t be. Perhaps we are so starved for any signs of (to quote Smith) “integrity, [and] a spirit of humility” among our corporate elites that even his rather mild rebuke of Wall Street culture is a cause for rejoicing.

    But this reaction also shows, as you have pointed out on this blog before BH, where mainstream progressive thinking and reality truly diverge. Mainstream progressives cling to the notion that a return to some idealized status quo, with a bit of tweaking by means of positive reforms, is both possible and desirable. In this, they confuse cause and effect. Smith laments the deterioration of Goldman’s work culture, from one of (alleged) genteel cooperation and responsibility, to one of open cravenness and scorn for clients. By implication, such a “decline in moral fiber” is what has led to our larger economic decline. (For Wall Street folk believe that THEY are the key drivers of our prosperity.) But Smith’s got it backwards. It is an inherently deceitful, unjust and unsustainable financial regime that allowed such a culture to flourish, and indeed made it inevitable – not the other way around. It has ALWAYS been that way… and it CAN’T be reformed.

    Given his self-proclaimed brilliance, Smith might even be, on some level, aware of this. (I take his icky Friedmanesque metaphor likening a positive work culture to “secret sauce” as a potential clue!) I went to school with many hard-striving “overachievers” like him, and many of them ended up on Wall Street. Their ambition, applauded as a virtue although in many cases certainly pathological, dictated that they would go Wall Street, irrespective of recruiting brochure pieties about work culture and responsibility to clients. Whether consciously or not, these folks completely embraced the values of greed, materialism and self-exaltation which has always driven the Wall Street culture and indeed our culture as a whole. This was just as true twenty-plus years ago when I graduated college, as it was when Smith graduated ten years or so later, and as it is today.

    In other words, I think he’s full of shit. NOBODY goes to work on Wall Street out of a desire for a collegial work environment and a sense of social responsibility. The very notion is absurd!

    But then, I don’t have a dog in this hunt as I am far below Goldman’s minimum client net worth threshold, and always will be.

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    1. Good points, Huey. I also was not as enthralled with the Smith letter as many others were, other than the Schadenfreude of seeing Goldman's stock drop after it went public. He is certainly no saint. The point is not that Goldman Sachs has gotten "out of control," it's that it exists at all.

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