OLD Media Moves

Bloomberg News to Bernanke: Ben, you ignorant slut

December 6, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush

Bloomberg News has responded to a letter that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke sent to four lawmakers that stated the news service’s coverage of the Fed’s lending program during the economic bailout contained “egregious errors.”

In a posting on Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg editor in chief Matt Winkler said that the news organization stood by its coverage. It then offered a point-by-point refutation of Bernanke’s letter.

Here is an excerpt:

From Fed memo: “These articles have made repeated claims that the Federal Reserve conducted ‘secret’ lending that was not disclosed either to the public or the Congress. No lending program was ever kept secret from the Congress or the public. All of the programs were publicly announced when they were initiated, and information about all lending under the programs was publicly released — both on a weekly basis through the Federal Reserve’s public balance sheet release and through detailed monthly reports to Congress, both of which were also posted on the Federal Reserve’s website.”

Response: Bloomberg’s Nov. 28 story about Fed lending reported that the central bank published regular reports on the scope of borrowings from the discount window and other emergency or temporary programs. The loans were described as “secret” because the amounts, names of borrowers, dates and, often, interest rates weren’t disclosed. The stories reported that the Fed’s rationale for keeping the loans secret was to prevent bank runs.

From Fed memo: “The Federal Reserve took great care to ensure that Congress was well-informed of the magnitude and manner of its lending.”

Response: Bloomberg’s story said Congress wasn’t fully apprised of the details of the Fed’s efforts. “We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” U.S. Representative Barney Frank, who served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in the Nov. 28 story. “We didn’t know the specifics.” Other members of Congress on both sides of the aisle also said they weren’t aware of the details.

Read more here.

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