But as we prepare to string up Messrs. Geithner, Dodd, and others, maybe those of us in the press need to be asking this: What did we know and when did we know it?
The AIG bonuses were not some covert operation in a faraway land. And the stimulus bill language exempting existing contracts from new limits on bonuses was not particularly hard to understand.
In short, the two key facts of the case were both out there — that the AIG bonuses were due to be paid and that they would go forward, unaffected by the limits in the stimulus.
As the mob circles, there’s an element of what the psychologists call transference in the media’s relentless focus on how Dodd and Geithner must be held to account for the “outrageous” bonuses. Easier to point fingers at them than at ourselves.
If the potential of these bonuses to trigger all-consuming public anger was plain as day, why was the press not collectively screaming from the rooftops about them?
What about “citizen journalism” – was the story covered in the blogosphere?
(via Jay Rosen)