Part 4—The New York Times covers for Bain: What did Romney do at Bain Capital?
There’s little chance you’ll ever find out reading the New York Times! Indeed, Julie Creswell’s report in today’s New York Times is a masterpiece of upper-class pseudo-reporting.
Creswell’s remarkable “news report” ought to be placed in a time capsule. This would allow future generations to marvel at the cultural attitudes which were widespread among the “press” in this, our new Gilded Age.
Creswell’s report should be saved for the future. But for current purposes, her news report is a masterwork of covering up for Mitt Romney and Bain. At its heart, we find a great disdain for the yokels, the losers, the yahoos, the rubes, the unappealing lesser breed:
“Darlings, please!” Creswell’s piece seems to cry. “Who cares about looted steel workers?”
Let’s start with a bit of background. Creswell is responding to a nauseating, very disappointing ad by Obama. In a press release announcing the ad, the Obama campaign said the following:
"After purchasing [GST Steel], Mitt Romney and his partners loaded it with debt, closed the Kansas City plant and walked away with a healthy profit, leaving hundreds of employees out of work with their pensions in jeopardy.”
In anything, that statement is soft. But that represents the state of play which led to Creswell’s report.
Please note: Obama’s ad doesn’t make a statement about private equity in general. Instead, Obama’s ad makes a statement about Mitt Romney’s conduct at Bain. But the modern upper-class press corps is loaded with folk who defer to powerful upper-end interests. This may explain how Creswell managed to start her report in the following way, headline included.
Obama’s ad concerns Romney’s conduct at Bain. But note the way Creswell defines her topic:
CRESWELL (5/24/12): Political Ads Don’t Tell Full Story on Private EquityObama’s ad attacks Romney’s conduct at Bain. Creswell responds with a lengthy news report—about "private equity" in general.
In an advertisement released this month by President Obama’s campaign, Mitt Romney and the private equity firm he co-founded, Bain Capital, are painted as vampires. They sucked the lifeblood out of GST Steel in the 1990s, which pushed it into bankruptcy, destroying jobs and eliminating pensions.
In a quick counterattack, the Romney campaign released an ad that highlighted the robust job growth at another Bain investment, the manufacturing company Steel Dynamics. The ad featured employees who said the investment had helped them achieve the American dream.
So, which version of private equity is true?
Don’t get us wrong! We’d like to see our major newspapers explain what “private equity” is. The phrase is being tossed all around—but very few voters know what it means.
These hopeless yokels have little idea what “private equity” firms really do. Pitiful yahoos that they are, they don’t know how “private equity” firms different from other entities.
Creswell would be providing a service if she explained what “private equity” is. For our money, her performance today is rather weak in this area.
But Obama’s ad doesn’t concern private equity firms in general. His ad concerns Mitt Romney’s conduct at Bain, a subject Creswell skips until paragraph 24 of a lengthy, 26-paragraph report.
If readers are still around at that time, here's what they read about Romney’s conduct. What follows is Creswell’s full discussion of the subject which occasioned her news report.
Might we note one minor miracle? Almost five months later, the New York Times has mentioned that Reuters report!
CRESWELL: As for the dueling ads, in the case of GST Steel, a manufacturer based in Kansas City, Mo., that Bain bought in 1993, the company, according to a Reuters article this year, issued new debt that was used to pay tens of millions of dollars in dividends to its buyout owners. That sent GST's debt levels and interest payments soaring, which eventually pushed it into bankruptcy.If you stuck around for paragraphs 24 and 25, that’s what Creswell managed to tell you about the subject of Obama’s ad—though you’ll note that Romney’s name isn’t mentioned. We think her report should go in a capsule, so future generations can see the way our upper-class “press corps” disdained the yokels, the rednecks, the rubes.
When the bankruptcy was announced, the company also said that it was shutting down a mill, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs, and that it would not provide workers with severance pay, health insurance and other benefits. The company's underfunded pension was eventually bailed out by the federal government. But not explored in the campaign ad is that GST was a company already well in decline in an industry under pressure from cheap global product before Bain acquired it and pumped money into it. It was one of many steel manufacturers that filed for bankruptcy during the period.
What did Romney do at Bain? More precisely, what did he do with respect to that steel mill? Creswell is full of excuses for the fact that the plant had to close (see below). But among the various shaky practices Reuters described in its buried report, Bain’s underfunding of the pension fund was perhaps the most egregious.
What does Creswell say about that? This is all she could manage:
“The company's underfunded pension was eventually bailed out by the federal government.”
Too funny! The pension plan was “underfunded,” she says. But who underfunded that pension fund? By some miracle of pseudo-journalism, Creswell forgets to say!
“Mistakes were made,” Richard Nixon once said. This morning, Creswell steals his construction: “Underfunding was done,” she explains.
What did Romney do at Bain? Creswell had 1200 words to answer this question. Instead, she burned away the bulk of her space discussing a general question, then rushed past the conduct described in that ad and that Reuters report. In fact, according to Reuters, Mitt Romney underfunded that pension fund, by some $44 million, even as Bain was taking large profits and fees from the steel mill. And while Creswell mentions the federal bailout, she doesn’t waste your time with the bad news about those (750) workers:
Readers, can we talk? Those workers lost large chunks of their pensions even after the federal bailout occurred! That happened because Mitt Romney underfunded their pension fund, even as he was taking large sums out of their struggling company.
That’s what Reuters reported, four months ago. Creswell didn’t want you disturbed.
Why would someone create a “news report” like the one Creswell gives us today? Let us offer a speculation:
At upper-class news orgs like the Times, people don’t care about looted steel workers. Darlings, please! They’re yokels, yahoos, tea-baggers, rubes. They aren’t fine upstanding folk like the captains of equity firms.
What do they care about at the New York Times? They care about the way an Irish setter got transported on a summer vacation. They care so much that they’re willing to make up silly shit about it and repeat it for five years.
But they plainly don’t care about steel mill workers! People! Kansas City! How gauche!
The mainstream press—and the liberal world—care very little for people like these. Back in 2009, Rachel Maddow showered such people with two weeks of amusing dick jokes. Just last month, her millionaire colleagues lied and lied, in disgraceful ways, about a cadre of working-class cops.
What did Romney do at Bain? Darlings! He did the best he could! That is the subtext of Creswell’s “report”—and it’s built on upper-class contempt for the lower order.
This attitude is widely broadcast these days. More on this problem tomorrow.
Creswell bestows the last word: Here’s how an upper-class newspaper functions:
Creswell finally got around to Romney’s conduct in paragraph 24. When she did, she devoted two paragraphs to his conduct—although his name went unsaid.
She forgot to say that he underfunded those pensions. She soft-soaped the results.
She didn’t describe the human cost—if you think “those people” are human. She let it seem that the federal government made that underfunding right—the underfunding that seems to have happened all by itself.
She devoted two grafs to this snow job. But darlings! Good men have been slandered and scorned! Creswell decided to give the last word to the people who actually looted those pensions. This was the stirring paragraph which closed her pseudo-report:
CRESWELL (continuing directly): ''Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital over 13 years ago,'' Bain said in a statement, ''but we understand that in a political campaign our exemplary 28-year record will be distorted and complex business situations will be portrayed in a simplistic way.''Darlings! Will Bain be portrayed in a simplistic way? For sure! Julie Creswell just did!
Tomorrow: We “liberals” loathe workers and cops