CBS Promotes Arianna Huffington Bashing 'Dastardly' Banks

Arianna Huffington, CBS In a segment on the banking industry on CBS's Sunday Morning, fill-in anchor Anthony Mason cited the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" and wondered: "Who would you say is today's equivalent of the movie's villain, the dastardly Mister Potter?" His answer: "If you ask the Huffington Post's web mistress Arianna Huffington, it's these guys." Footage rolled of big bank CEOs.

Mason touted Huffington's class warfare against the banks: "Are you angry at banks that are supposedly too big to fail....Well, an internet provocateur has some advice....Huffington has launched a campaign that drives the point home with a sledge hammer....The 'Move Your Money' campaign urges customers to move their money out of the big banks and into smaller community oriented ones."

A clip was played of Huffington arguing: "JP Morgan, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo. These banks that received taxpayer money...have not really done their job of helping small businesses at lending." At no point in the segment did Mason refer to Huffington as liberal or point out the government's role in creating the financial crisis.

He did, however, speak with Robert Johnson from the liberal Roosevelt Institute, who proclaimed: "Taking money away from people who...pay themselves big bonuses and spend four hundred million dollars on lobbying, why would you want to empower those people?"

Mason went on to direct viewers to the campaign's website created by Huffington: "By entering your zip code into the 'Move Your Money' website, a list of nearby small banks pops up. All of which have received a rating of B or better by independent reviewers." Only briefly at the end of the report did Mason acknowledge the flaw with small financial institutions: "To be fair, many smaller banks are in trouble, too. Most of the more than seven hundred banks on the FDIC's watch list are small or mid-size institutions, vulnerable to bad mortgage loans."

Here is a portion of the segment:
ANTHONY MASON: Are you angry at banks that are supposedly too big to fail, but you haven't withdrawn your money because your account is too small to matter? Well, an internet provocateur has some advice.

GEORGE BAILEY [CLIP FROM "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE"]: Four, three, two, one, bingo! We made it.

MASON: If George Bailey from "It's A Wonderful Life" is still your vision of the ideal small town banker-

BAILEY [MOVIE CLIP]: Well, your money's in Joe's house. That's right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house and Mrs. Macklin's house and a hundred others.

MASON: Then who would you say is today's equivalent of the movie's villain, the dastardly Mister Potter?

[MOVIE CLIP]

MR. POTTER: Then foreclose?

BAILEY: I can't do that. These families have children.

POTTER: They're not my children.

MASON: If you ask the Huffington Post's web mistress Arianna Huffington, it's these guys [clip of bank CEOS testifying on Capitol Hill].

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: JP Morgan, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo. These banks that received taxpayer money, that were bailed out by the taxpayer, have not really done their job of helping small businesses at lending, so that the economy can start again and start producing jobs.

MASON: In fact, Huffington has launched a campaign that drives the point home with a sledge hammer.

MICHAEL CAPUANO [CONGRESSMAN, D-MASSACHUSETTS]: I don't have one single penny in any of your banks, not one, because I don't want my money put into CDOs and credit default swaps and making humongous bonuses.

MASON: The 'Move Your Money' campaign urges customers to move their money out of the big banks and into smaller community oriented ones.

ROBERT JOHNSON: All of us collectively do have money. And when we move our money, we're voting with a different currency and one that businesses pay attention to.

MASON: Robert Johnson works with the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank where he helped craft the campaign.

JOHNSON: Taking money away from people who pay you zero, charge you 30% on your credit cards, hits you with all kinds of overdraft fees and use that money to do, say, proprietary trading and pay themselves big bonuses and spend four hundred million dollars on lobbying, why would you want to empower those people?

MASON: By entering your zip code into the 'Move Your Money' website, a list of nearby small banks pops up. All of which have received a rating of B or better by independent reviewers.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC