MediaFile

Bob Rubin: Wall Street? America needs Sesame Street

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.

Fox, New York Times sue U.S. government

The latest by-product of the financial crisis? Media lawsuits. More specifically: Government agencies deny or fail to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by media organizations, which then sue to force the government to own up.

The two latest cases are from News Corp’s Fox Business Network and The New York Times (both outlets’ complaints are pasted below). Fox sued for what it said was the government’s failure to respond to a FOIA request, filed on February 26, 2009, which sought records relating to information that the Securities and Exchange Commission received regarding the potential violations of the securities laws or any other potential wrongdoing by R. Allen Stanford, or Stanford Financial Group and its affiliates. This request included, but was not limited to, the SEC’s response to complaints, tips or information and any resulting audits, inquiries and investigations.

The Times’s complaint, filed by investigative reporter and Washington Post alum Jo Becker and her editor, chides the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Dept. for stalling or failing to disclose documents related to the financial crisis, including communications between some of the top dogs in the bailout program over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP.