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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 04:02 PM ET, 07/16/2012

Who wants to cover Libor?

In the segment above, Eliot Spitzer of Current TV gets all excited about a worldwide banking scandal: “It all comes back to Libor,” he says during his program, “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” which has blanketed the story.

As more and more Americans are now learning, Libor stands for London interbank offered rate, or the rate that banks charge one another to borrow funds. That rate has been subject to rigging by key bankers, in a scandal that has already claimed the position of Barclays former chief executive Bob Diamond, resulted in a $451 million fine for the company and has reportedly sparked a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. If consumers don’t care, well, they’d better. As the New York Times explains it, Libor “is used to determine the borrowing costs for trillions of dollars of financial products, including mortgages, credit cards and student loans.” Which is why Spitzer’s saying it all comes back to Libor.

It just doesn’t all come back to ABC and NBC. According to a study completed last week by Media Matters for America, the evening-news shows for those two networks dedicated zero minutes of coverage to the scandal from June 27 through July 12. Not even a mention.

Not only are those networks unmotivated to talk about Libor on their key newscasts, they’re unmotivated to talk about how unmotivated they are to talk about Libor on their key newscasts. Inquiries to both networks fetched a call-back only from ABC, which confirmed the veracity of the Media Matters findings but declined to comment on them. NBC News hasn’t responded to several e-mails on the matter.

Is this a scandal empanada — financial dough and a little media filling? Hate to jump to conclusions. A look at the fossil record of “NBC Nightly News” coverage reveals some great topical choices, including a story on massive droughts, stuff on the turmoil in Syria and many other topics. There was also a segment on July 6 titled “Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Nancy Reagan celebrate birthdays,” for which a story on Libor could simply not have been substituted. Gotta do birthdays.

As for ABC, much of the same. Coverage of the all-important presidential race, the life-threatening heat wave and the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, plus, of course, sharks!!!!! Can’t bump complicated, clunky old Libor for fins protruding from the ocean.

By  |  04:02 PM ET, 07/16/2012

Tags:  LIBOR, abc, nbc, scandal, london interback offered rate, barclays, bob diamond

 
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