The Washington Post

Libor, still underappreciated

Libor is all about big bucks. An acronym for London interbank offered rate, Libor governs upwards of $500 trillion in contracts. It’s linked to an insane number of adjustable-rate mortgages here in the United States and affects student loans and credit cards.

Yet the scandal over the rigging of this benchmark financial rate still cannot buy consideration on the nightly newscasts of ABC and NBC. Perhaps it’s just a jam-packed news period: Against what sort of stories is Libor competing?

Decent ones, for the most part. The drought, preparations for the Olympics, a murder suspect trying and failing to fly to freedom, a new weight-loss drug approved by the FDA, sewing needles on food served on Delta flights, Syria and more.

“More” includes a two-and-a-half minute segment on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” on the latest developments in the Kerry Kennedy crash story.

We learned about Kerry Kennedy’s thyroid medication and sleeping medication; nothing about how Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was criticized for comments on Libor in Tuesday testimony on Capitol Hill.

We learned about a “complex partial seizure” of Kerry Kennedy’s brain; nothing about how the Justice Department is stepping up on the Libor situation.

We learned about police suspicions about Kerry Kennedy’s medications; nothing about whether our financial markets are out of control.

We heard from truck driver Rocco Scuitello on the accident; nothing from bankers on Libor.

To its credit, ABC did a segment on a allegations against the bank HSBC. And that’s enough bank coverage for one newscast!

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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