A congressional investigation into a failed venture capital firm run by a prominent former governor has faulted said governor for the debacle, which famously lost some billions in investor funds which, to this day, have not been accounted for.
No, it wasn’t Mitt Romney – it was former Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine. One mystery that plagues this investigation is Mr. Corzine’s David Copperfield act that wiped $1.6 billion from MF Global’s client fund, which occurred days before the whole firm crumbled. Dina ElBoghdady of The Washington Post reported in the November 15 paper about this episode in financial malfeasance that cost people their jobs, and their savings – but it wasn’t too important for the paper's editors, who buried the item on page A18.
About a month ago, I joked in a column published elsewhere that the reason a certain New York Times column didn't resonate with anyone is because no one pays attention to the Old Gray Lady any more.
Unfortunately, that's not true. But the fact that almost no other establishment press outlet has mentioned the paper's disclosure late Wednesday (appearing in Thursday's print edition) that former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine and others at the bankrupt firm likely won't face criminal prosecution in the firm's crack-up, which featured raiding individual customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion, seems to indicate that the Times has become a favored holding cell for stories detrimental to Democrats which will otherwise be ignored. Oh, and contrary to the belief expressed in a very long Vanity Fair item in February, when Corzine was seen to be in "a scandal he can’t survive," and that "his career is likely finished," the man is seriously considering starting up a new hedge fund.
Has the New York Times Business section gone soft on former New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, now under the scandal spotlight for his service as chief executive of the failed financial services firm MF Global?
Saturday's Business Day story by Azam Ahmed and Ben Protess buried intriguing details that reflect suspiciously on Corzine under the bland headline, "Congressional Memo Sheds New Light on MF Global." The paper didn't even identify the scandal-plagued former governor as a Democrat.
An item filed at the Hill on Friday afternoon by Peter Schroeder tells us that Bloomberg News was the first organization to report the latest development relating to former New Jersey Democratic Governor and Senator Jon Corzine. Bloomberg's report, via Phil Mattingly and Silla Brush, reveals that Corzine, who was CEO at the now-bankrupt MF Global Holdings until November, "gave 'direct instructions' to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators." That would be an MF brokerage account, meaning that customer money was used to cover company losses. If the memo reflects what really happened, Corzine committed a crime -- either by committing perjury in his congressional testimony several months, in ordering the transfer itself, or both.
Bloomberg's report identifies Corzine as a Democrat in its fourteenth paragraph. But at least Bloomberg did so. That did not occur in reports at the Associated Press, United Press International, MarketWatch.com, CNBC. The Hill's Schroeder did tag Corzine as a Dem. Here are several paragraphs from Bloomberg's report (bolds are mine):
In a softball interview with Sen. Debbie Stabenow on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday asked the Michigan Democrat if it was difficult for her to grill a friend and colleague, the former New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine, on the MF Global scandal. At one point, Scarborough enthused, "Senator Corzine. I like him a lot. We like him."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski started out the interview by asking Stabenow on how they would be taking on the MF Global investigation. The Michigan senator essentially rattled off the hearing's witness list.
NPR's Yuki Noguchi and Lynn Neary completely omitted Jon Corzine's Democratic affiliation on Thursday's All Things Considered, while mentioning practically every other prominent occupation he has held- Goldman Sachs CEO, senator, governor, even "multimillionaire." On the other hand, Noguchi gave the Republican party ID of two representatives who questioned Corzine at a recent hearing.
Neary outlined in her introduction for Noguchi's report that "former Senator Jon Corzine returned to Congress...Corzine was once CEO of the most successful bank on Wall Street. He left Goldman Sachs for the Senate, then was elected governor of New Jersey." The correspondent soon added that "until late October, Corzine was the CEO of MF Global."
As the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday reported former New Jersey Democratic Senator Jon Corzine's testimony before Congress on the billion dollars in investor money that went missing from the financial firm he once headed, only the NBC Nightly News took the time to label him as a Democrat.
Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) will testify to a House panel today regarding the MF Global scandal that he "simply do[es] not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date," reports Associated Press's Marcy Gordon.
Gordon eventually got around to mentioning Corzine's party affiliation, in paragraph 11 out of her 12-paragraph story:
Flashbacks of 2008 were on the minds of many when MF Global, a Wall Street firm led the Democratic former N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine, filed for bankruptcy amid a huge scandal. Forbes said the firm owes $2.2 billion to JP Morgan and Deutsche Banks. But the broadcast networks had amnesia when it came to their previous coverage of Corzine, his role as adviser and fundraiser for Obama and their previous use of him as an economic expert.
MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31. The firm, under Democrat Corzine’s leadership had invested in more than $6 billionEuropean sovereign debt and was overleveraged (borrowed too much). Why would they have invested in such risky assets? According to both New York Times and Fox Business contributor Charles Gasparino, Corzine was betting on a European bailout.
ABC's World News this week failed to mention the development that former New Jersey Democratic Senator and former Governor Jon Corzine is mired in a scandal involving $600 million in missing funds from the financial firm MF Global which he headed until today.
The CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News so far have not mentioned Corzine's Democratic Party affiliation as they ran full reports on Tuesday, and on Friday both shows updated viewers after Corzine's resignation.
On Friday, Brian Williams related that a "prominent criminal defense lawyer" had been hired by Corzine as the NBC anchor read a brief item:
Consider this post the print and online follow-up to the report early Tuesday evening by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters on the failure of the Big Three TV networks to note the Democratic Party/Obama fundraising affiliation of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, whose now-bankrupt MF Global financial firm has apparently admitted to diverting client money in a futile attempt to battle its financial free-fall.
Balan found that the Big Three's morning shows "omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm," and that ABC didn't even mention Corzine's name. This is not surprising, as the wire services which provide much of the raw material for these shows for the most part similarly failed, and have continued to do so. A rundown of much of what the wires have produced, along with a look at several New York Times items, follows the jump:
On Tuesday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm, something that even the liberal New York Times gave in their coverage of the story. ABC's Good Morning America also failed to include Corzine's name during their news brief on the investigation.
News anchor Josh Elliott noted in a 13-second brief that "a Wall Street brokerage firm run by New Jersey's former governoris filing for bankruptcy. Regulators say some $700 million belonging to MF Global's customers is apparently missing." Apparently, the name of the Democrat's firm is newsworthy at ABC, but his name and his party ID isn't.
What's next: Bill Clinton cutting an ad vexing David Vitter on the issue of fidelity?
Of all people, Ed Schultz spent an entire segment this evening going after Chris Christie . . . about his girth.
I counted no fewer than seven separate barbs that Schultz directed Christie's way over his weight. He began with a photo of the NJ Governor with the graphic "Battle of the Bulge." It got heavier from there.
Early Saturday morning, 7Online.com, the website for ABC's New York affiliate WABC-TV, reported the previous night's arrest of Jason Shih, an alleged campaign worker for Governor Jon Corzine (D-NJ) charged with "possession of a controlled narcotic and paraphernalia that is used for distribution."
Although the headline "Corzine campaign worker arrested" shows up in a Google News search, the page is no longer available: "We are sorry, but the URL you requested could not be found. The page you are looking for may have been renamed, moved, or deleted."
A search of "Jason Shih" and "Corzine" at 7Online.com did not produce a new article concerning Shih's arrest.
[UPDATE, 1pm EDT: According to the New York Post: "Corzine spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith said Shih is not on the payroll of the campaign or the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, and that the campaign doesn't know who he is."]
Fortunately, the website Drug Policy Central captured the 7Online report for its readers (h/t Twitter follower NYfitter):
"Jon Corzine is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."
Okay, Jonathan Tamari didn't use those exact words when he wrote an incredibly fawning Philadelphia Inquirer article about Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey who is running for re-election but the words he did use sure come close to that sentiment. See, Corzine's problems weren't really because he presided over a massive budget deficit.The real problem was his difficulty in proper communication...at least according to Tamari:
In his formal introduction to Trenton, his inaugural speech, Corzine read from notes, barely looking up, absorbed in his own message. Problems with communicating would come to plague his term in office.
Joe Strupp at Editor & Publisher reports the revolving door between the media and government spun wildly out of the New Jersey Star-Ledger: "at least 16 reporters and newsroom staffers at The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., most of whom left the paper in the past year's massive buyout, are now working for public officials or state agencies the paper covers...With 151 newsroom staffers taking buyouts last October, out of 330 total, that figure represents about 10% of the departed reporters, although some left prior to that round of buyouts."
Topping that list is Deborah Howlett, a former statehouse reporter who is now Gov. Jon Corzine’s communications director. However, this is not Howlett’s first job in politics. We at MRC reported in 1990 that before joining USA Today, Howlett, spent four months in 1983 as Press Secretary to Oregon State Senator Margie Hendricksen, a Democrat who later opposed moderate-to-liberal GOP Sen. Mark Hatfield. The Almanac of American Politics blamed Hendricksen's loss on her "consistently liberal views" which, as The New Republic once noted, include favoring unilateral nuclear disarmament.
As the 1980s wound to a close, Howlett sneered at the Reagan '80s in a November 27, 1989 USA Today "news" story: "The '80s were the years of excess. We swaggered through the portals and grabbed as much as we could. We were greedy and gluttonous. As long as we wore starched shirts, we could belch at the dinner table. And Ronald Reagan led us."
Who's going to be the leader of the financial world in the role of Treasury Secretary under President Obama? It may be Democratic New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who has pushed for an additional economic stimulus package to the tune of $300 billion to support infrastructure projects.
CNBC's Carl Quintanilla asked Corzine outright on "Squawk Box" if he would accept a job in the Obama administration as Treasury Secretary. "If it's offered, governor, will you say no?" Quintanilla asked.
"Squawk Box" co-host Joe Kernan encouraged Corzine to consider accepting the job if offered, even as the former U.S. senator expressed his contentment as governor. "You could save the world" as Treasury Secretary, Kernan said.