Yesterday, I had the pleasure of joining old friend Sam Seder on The Majority Report. Among other topics, we talked about the surreal exchange between CNBC dingbat Maria Bartiromo and Salon‘s amazed and incredulous Alex Pareene about Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Pareene hilariously told the CNBC panel that anybody could do Jamie Dimon’s job as badly as he’s done it, offered himself in half-seriousness as an option and made the absolutely accurate point that any other boss in any other industry who had overseen the regulatory problems that took place at Chase under Dimon would be looking for work.
“If you managed a restaurant, and it got the biggest health department fine in the history of restaurants,” Pareene said sensibly, “no one would say ‘Yeah, but the restaurant’s making a lot of money. There’s only a little bit of poison in the food.'”
I hadn’t seen the exchange until yesterday when Sam played it on his show. It’s an amazing piece of tape that tells you everything about why the financial press constantly misses major scandals – their only sources of information are bank spokestools and they have no clue about even the most obvious things, like the fact that the whole country north of TriBeCa and south of Battery Park cringes at the sound of Dimon’s name. Maria really cranked up a shameless-even-for-her CNBC toady act with her constant, “Leaving regulatory problems aside. . .” refrains – it’s an amazing clip.
Incidentally, near the end, Sam makes a great point. If you’re running a Too-Big-To-Fail bank, it’s pretty weak to give a CEO credit for not failing. Because basically, he can’t do anything but succeed, when you think about it. Here’s more from the show: