Mouthpiece of the Elite: The Washington Post’s Longstanding Contempt for People Who Work for a Living

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
By Paul Martin

By Dean Baker
Global Research
April 22, 2015

The Washington Post is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s 15th richest human, but it was already promoting the interests of the wealthy when it was owned by mere multi-millionaires.

The Washington Post has established itself over many decades as a major mouthpiece of elite opinion. Its editorial pages argue strongly for the interests of the wealthy, with scarcely concealed contempt for people who have to work for a living. (They do support alms for the poor, hence they are OK with programs like food stamps and TANF.)

This attitude has been shown many times over the years, but perhaps never more clearly than in its editorial on the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, where it fumed about auto workers who earned $56,650 a year. By contrast, it was an ardent supporter of the Wall Street bailout, which was largely about helping people who make this much money in a day.

In fact, the Post helped to conceal one of the major scams that was used to pass the bailout: the claim that the commercial paper market was shutting down. When people were saying that the economy was at the edge of collapse following the Lehman bankruptcy, the commercial paper market was the most immediate issue.

Many large profitable companies (e.g., Verizon or Boeing) were dependent on issuing commercial paper to meet their monthly bills such as payroll, utility bills and payments to suppliers. If these companies could not get the credit needed to make these payments, the economy really would collapse. What most of the country, and almost certainly most members of Congress, did not know at the time the bailout was approved was that Ben Bernanke and the Fed single-handedly had the ability to support the commercial paper market.

The weekend after Congress approved the TARP, Bernanke announced the creation of the Commercial Paper Funding Facility. Congress would have had a much more informed debate about whether it wanted to save Wall Street if it knew the Fed had this power before it voted, but folks like the Washington Post editorial board didn’t want any delays before the Wall Street folks got the money.

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