On NBC, CNBC's Liesman Raises 'Banana Republic' Spectre

Comparisons to the current Wall Street financial situation to the Great Depression have not been unusual in the media, but Thursday's NBC Nightly News went a step further into inducing panic. Delivering a healthy dose of hyperbole, Steve Liesman of CNBC prompted a “wow” from anchor Brian Williams when he raised the spectre that the credit troubles could lead, “some” would say, to the “U.S. becoming a banana republic” while those in favor of federal action to take over bad debt “would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic.” Leisman's warning:
I think there are some people who would say that this is, creates a danger, taking on all this bad debt of the U.S. becoming a banana republic. I think those, the proponents of this plan would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic.
The full exchange on the Thursday, September 18 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: This is a genuinely scary time and we don't know how or when it's going to end. Carl Quintanilla, thanks again tonight. And for more on this we're joined by CNBC's senior economics reporter, Steve Liesman. He joins us from their headquarters tonight. Steve, they're meeting tonight, yes this thing we think developed today, what does this amount to?

STEVE LIESMAN: Brian, I think what it will amount to is some sort of vehicle where they will carve off the bad assets of the banks, put them into something that is ultimately going to be taxpayer financed and the idea is just to give these things some time so they don't have to be fire-saled out into the economy right now. And the idea being over a period of time, maybe the losses won't equal those which are being taken right now by Wall Street. Brian, I think there are some people who would say that this is, creates a danger, taking on all this bad debt of the U.S. becoming a banana republic. I think those, the proponents of this plan would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic. Brian?

WILLIAMS: Wow, as we say, this is a jittery time and we don't know how it ends. Steve Liesman, thank you, again, for your expertise.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center