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Thursday, January 20, 2011

libel in the New York Times and Reuters

Peter Baker wrote

One day he derided “fat-cat bankers” who caused the recession; another day, he soothed them by saying that he and the American people “don’t begrudge” multimillion-dollar bonuses.

I know that Barack Obama said that Lloyd Blankfein invented the internet, but the claim "he soothed them by saying that he and the American people 'don’t begrudge' multimillion-dollar bonuses." is false. Since it is a false claim about a published transcript, the false claim published in the New York Times demonstrates reckless disregard for the truth.

I quote the context of the two words TWO Words ! which Baker ripped out of context.

"Q Let's talk bonuses for a minute: Lloyd Blankfein, $9 million; Jamie Dimon, $17 million. Now, granted, those were in stock and less than what some had expected. But are those numbers okay?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That's part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we've seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance. I think that shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs."

So Obama said that the US people don't begrudge success or wealth as such, however, wealth based on Wall Street compenstation packages have no justification.

Just to make it absolutely clear that Baker libeled Obama, I will also report the follow up question and answer

"Q Seventeen million dollars is a lot for Main Street to stomach.

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, $17 million is an extraordinary amount of money. Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well. I guess the main principle we want to promote is a simple principle of "say on pay," that shareholders have a chance to actually scrutinize what CEOs are getting paid. And I think that serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay. The other thing we do think is the more that pay comes in the form of stock that requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings is a fairer way of measuring CEOs' success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better."

So in exactly the interview which Baker falsely asserts shows Obama soothing Wall Street executives, he advocated regulation of compensation which were not approved by Congress.

The claim about Obama is exactly as valid as the claim that "Al Gore claimed he invented the internet."

Felix Salmon quotes the false butchered two words of quotation plus an innaccurate paraphrase without noting the error.

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