NBC's 'Today' Includes Michael Moore as Expert to Attack Wall Street Bonuses

Michael Moore makes propaganda movies and many in the news media embraced his latest screed against the free markets: "Capitalism: A Love Story." To NBC, hating capitalism makes Moore a go-to expert for Wall Street bashing.

"Today" interviewed Moore, along with MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Oct. 15, in a hit piece on Wall Street bankers and bonuses.

Moore reacted to the bonuses with condemnation of the capitalist system saying, "And I mean, I mean, Matt, these people, they burned down our economy. They completely crashed it. And now they're getting rewarded for it. It'd be like if I burned down your house today and then tomorrow you send me a check for it thanking me. I mean, it's, it's absolutely insane that we allow this to happen. But not surprising, because that's our capitalist system. They can get away with it because it's legal."

Both Moore and Ratigan criticized the bonuses following Trish Regan's report, which included three critics and not a single defender of Wall Street bonuses.

Regan had reported that "Goldman Sachs is estimated to pay its employees upwards of $20 billion this year. Citigroup on target for $22 billion and Bank of America's on track to pay roughly $30 billion."

"Critics say there's something inherently wrong with banks paying employees so much money when, after all, it was American taxpayers that bailed out the financial system just one year ago," Regan continued.

But no on in the segment bothered to inform viewers that Goldman Sachs had already repaid its bailout from the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP). That bank paid back $10 billion plus $318 million in dividends to "fully escape" the program, according to Reuters.

The NBC guests also didn't criticize mention that the government essentially forced the banks to take TARP funds in the first place under threat of audit. According to Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano, what the government did to the banks fit the legal definition of "extortion."

"Extortion is an attempt to control somebody else's free will by threatening to perform a lawful act. Is an audit lawful? Absolutely. Is the threat to engage in an audit in order to force them to sell stock to the federal government lawful? Of course not! It's a crime," Napolitano said. "That happened in September of '08 under the Bush administration. In March of '09 is when the Treasury said we own 2 percent, we're going to tell you how to run the place."

All three broadcast networks emphasized class envy on Oct. 14 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 10,000 once again. CBS's Katie Couric complained that "not everyone is sharing in it [economic recovery] equally."

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.