Bob Rubin: Wall Street? America needs Sesame Street

July 1, 2011

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was so worried about the current state of political discourse that he went to a billionaire buddy to try to get him to bankroll a TV show, but the deep-pocketed friend turned him down.

Rubin told conference-goers at the Aspen Ideas Festival that both he and former deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott had approached a friend Rubin declined to name. Their idea, which he told Reuters after the event was never developed, was to appeal to the public the same way “Sesame Street” appealed to youngsters.

But the friend, busy with other projects, said no.

Rubin still believes the media could do more to explain issues, particularly when it comes to the fiscal crisis.

“There’s been a massive communications failure  by your party” in explaining budget issues, on-stage interviewer and Reuters digital editor Chrystia Freeland said.

“There’s been a massive communications failure by your profession,” Rubin shot right back. The two joshed for a few seconds about whether the blame should be 50-50 or 80-20.

Rubin, who after leaving the Clinton administration joined Citigroup as a board member and served temporarily as its chair before eventually resigning in early 2009 after his performance was criticized, still hasn’t given up on his dream of finding some philanthropist mogul to somehow save the day.

(By Sarah McBride in Aspen)


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Posted by Rubin: Blame the biz media » WeNewsIt | Report as abusive

That’s an excellent idea. PBS does a good job, but its programming is not dedicated to single topics, and its public funding makes it wary to stray too far into major issues. Many news services are Facebook-like sensationalists. Daily Show and Colbert Report analyze in an entertaining way, but are obviously biased. The question though is, who has the time and resources, and hopefully the right incentive to explain to the public the issues in a balanced way?

Posted by ReaderAtSunrise | Report as abusive

[…] Bob Rubin: don’t blame me, blame the media — Reuters […]

Posted by Counterparties | Felix Salmon | Report as abusive

Lost in all that is the real truth: for-profit media will always carry bias and have a stake in NOT explaining things so people keep tuning in for the latest shred of insight. The only way to create an honest dialogue in the media is through outside channel and non-profit groups… then maybe the issues will get a fair shake, calmer heads will prevail, and opposing viewpoint can meet rather than pass like ships in the night.

Posted by CDN_Rebel | Report as abusive