Libor Blackout: Major Networks are Ignoring the Bank Scandal

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You’ve probably heard about the ongoing investigation of global banks and the manipulation of Libor, the critical interest rate that banks use as a benchmark to borrow money from each other and to set rates on virtually all commercial loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc. Maybe you heard about it from The New York Times or Bloomberg News, or even here at

Two places we’re sure you didn’t hear about it are ABC’s World News and NBC’s Nightly News, because they haven’t covered it — at all. According to Media Matters for America, the two networks ignored the scandal that The Financial Times‘s Chris Giles writes has “the power to make the heads of commercial banks quake in their boots.”
Media Matters for America chart of LIBOR coverage amongst mainstream media

MMFA bloggers Ben Demiero and Rob Savillo noted in their post:

“These same news outlets spent significantly more time on trivialities like shark sightings and the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce than on the banking scandal. For context, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN spent 44 minutes combined on the LIBOR scandal during their evening programming from June 27 to July 28. By contrast, these same outlets devoted nearly 65 minutes to stories about sharks for only the first sixteen days of that period.”

Never underestimate the media’s ability to underestimate the priorities of the American public.

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  • Jeff Bearden

    It is entirely possible that Bill Moyers is the last actual journalist left.

  • Mary

    LAZY JOURNALISM sells. Sad. Nero is playing his fiddle.

  • Donald Pollari

    This is not media underestimating the priorities of the American public. This is intentional non coverage of massive corruption which threatens corporatism. Corporatism which owns MSM and furthers it’s agenda through an incessant stream of propaganda.

  • Kathy Sommers

    We all know that the American mainstream media is owned by large corporations who have a vested interest in keeping Americans ignorant of the financial turmoil to which the criminal banks and Wall Street have subjected us. Those of us who have half a brain at least, get our real news from NPR and the BBC.

  • Jeff Bearden

    They are as criminal as the rest of them. Perpetrators who remain accessories to great and enormous crimes.

  • DWG

    The sad part is that if Comedy Central had been tracked, it would have a larger amount of coverage than many of the so-called “news” networks (and less about Tom & Katie).

  • Eve Tobolka

    The corporations now control the regulators. Exposing the truth might trigger citizen outrage and a greater awakening. People might even question where money comes from and what the Federal Reserve and Bank of England actually do. And so, keep them distracted and entertained. Keep them ignorant.

  • Lindi

    Give us the news straight up! We don’t want to be amused–we want to be informed!

  • Todd Reeder

    If they covered this and in debth the financial institutions would pull there commercials.

  • Todd Reeder

    And how many financial institutions own part of these networks?

  • Emmjay

    Watch Current network or even better, idependently owned LINK…They are not beholden to any corporate owners…

  • Alan Petrillo

    Alas, I don’t think the media are underestimating the priorities of the American public. Celebrity news gets ratings. More ratings, unfortunately, that much more important issues, such as LIBOR.

  • atlanta grandmom

    how can we change this?????

  • Aaron H

    It’s not only the corporations who desire this information kept from the public but the current administration, as well. While our political leaders keep assuring us the recovery of the American economy is just around the corner, and the banks are all being watched more closely (unlike the Bush era), these corrupt practices and policies are still flourishing. We are being lied to and NONE of the media outlets are willing to step up with real journalism and tell us what’s actually going on.

  • Helena Nagy

    I thought Diane Sawyer was an honest woman, what a letdown.

  • DebraO

    Sadly I believe that the Network News programs are playing to their target audiance which is not intelligent enough to understand the story and would not find the story entertaining.

  • Alice Patience

    I think you should include Link TV in your chart. That is my primary news source.

  • mjb

    Ha…you’re probably right!…Pathetic

  • mjbjr

    and as as a percentage of programming time devoted to the news…4 hours per week?….It blows the other networks away…….

  • M Ward

    Absolut power corrupts…. Absolutely. This is what happens when there hundreds of trillions is involved. Clearly as you all should know big media is always affected. My motto is; verify, verify, verify, regardless of the source.

  • Vicki

    looked it up good stuff, thanks

  • Terry Buske

    i’ve been silently seething for the past few weeks about the lack of hard news on any of the morning shows. they literally spend 10-15 seconds on real news stories and many minutes on each pop story. and this isn’t just before 8am, they are now starting the pop crap right with the news. don’t mind “the gang” having some fun, but pleeeze! i’d like some coverage of the actual important stuff. and i DO get most of my news now from the comedy channel.

  • donna farmer

    Why the adage “Ignorance is bliss” is still around.

  • MBrecker

    Here’s some irony that nobody (including Moyers and Company) have picked up on. Since “The Newsroom” started on HBO, it’s actually gotten more news coverage than real stories. Can you name one morning/news/comedy show that Sorkin hasn’t been on?

  • MBrecker

    Sorkin, Stewart and Colbert all have two things in common. They work for corporate media (Sorkin for Time Warner, and Colbert and Stewart for Viacom). They also have double standards. Stewart and Colbert can have war criminals like Rice, Rumsfeld, Blair and others on. However, they can NEVER say that many believe they’re war criminals. Meanwhile, Sorkin’s trying to use fairly recent news events in his storylines. Would HBO allow him to talk about potentially impeaching Obama? If he wants research, just check Obama’s 2012 Twitter account.

  • James Doris

    People are far too apathetic or ignorant about such important matters in our world today and unfortunately prefer to get their news from watching the likes entertainment tonight or God help us, Fox news… instead of NPR, PBS or BBC.

  • David Fechter

    Greed exposed is nothing new …………… Part of the media’s reluctance to cover this story is that it is the traders on the other side of a given deal, who are very difficult to identify, who turn out to be the losers. The rates seem to have been fudged up or down from day to day and minute to minute take “a traders advantage” in the “rigged” market swings. They didn’t just have inside information …………… they “moved the market” according to the positions they had just taken. Later, when things got tough for all commercial banks in 2008-2009, apparently, they chose to push in one direction……… down. This was to lower their own (the commercial banks) borrowing cost ……………. certainly not to assist businesses in keeping their borrowing cost down. The problem here is that the real losers were those who received lower interest payments ……….. and they, the affluent, do not make good victims……… for the newspapers and news shows.

  • Tim Fuller

    It was “game over” for American journalism when they allowed the WMD lie to grow to the point that it was used to support an illegal attack on Iraq. Nothing has changed since then. If you live in an outlaw country that won’t even prosecute war criminals (who go on TV and brag about their torture policies), then there is little hope a “minor” financial crime will get any traction. Enjoy.

  • kek

    The PSA…The LESS you know!

  • Deb

    I agree, Jeff!!

  • Anonymous

    “They control banking … , spending on political candidates and campaigns and thus have a direct effect on the outcome of democratic elections. They control the media, what ordinary Americans see and don’t see on television stations like Fox News and CNN. They control energy use and energy ‘policy’ and are virtually the invisible force behind a lack of a concerted national energy policy.”


  • sharee anne gorman

    “We the People” calling the 1% to task for the bilking of America. An alternative campaign message…

  • Heinz Schuhmann

    Last week I was talking to a couple of my neighbors and ask the them what they thought about citizens united and the libor scandal and to my surprise they had no clue as to what I talking about.If you think that bankers, the politicians,corporations and main stream media are the problem you are wrong.Its we the people,we are lazy and would rather stay uninformed about things that matter the most and I do not see it changing any time soon.What a shame

  • Popham

    I read about it on Facebook. I have “liked” a variety of different news sources. Why? Because I don’t want to be bored with the same story 100 times over. I want something more than the mass media promoting their own agenda. Even the NYTimes admits most all political information is vetted before the mass media produces it. Yes we are Free!

  • Jim McGowan

    Don’t be so sure of NPR or the BBC. They too bend to their masters. NPR is corporate funded largely through their foundations. BBC is highly influenced if not controlled by powerful political forces before/post 2001. I am highly skeptical these days of the US/British reporting axis … in truth MSM in general. Though have read some interesting stories in the Guardian. Murdoch’s WSJ is no longer credible imo. Financial Times – maybe. New York Times – not at all.

  • Michael D Williams

    ben swann? jeremy scahill? matt taibbi? amy goodman? etc etc etc… give some credit where credit is due