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Report: Media Ignore LIBOR Rate Rigging Scandal In Primetime

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said, regarding the LIBOR interest rate rigging scandal that is gripping Europe, “it would amount to a rip-off of almost cosmic proportion — trillions of dollars that you and I and other average people would otherwise have received or saved on our lending and borrowing that have been going instead to the bankers. It would make the other abuses of trust we’ve witnessed look like child’s play by comparison.”

As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, the scandal could have a big effect on American consumers. Several cities, led by Baltimore, are suing the banks involved, saying they were forced to cut services and lay off workers because their investments attached to LIBOR were undermined. But mainstream television news programs seem to not have much interest in the story, at least according to the amount of time that they have dedicated to it, as Media Matters noted:

Despite the massive scope of the controversy — LIBOR is “used as a benchmark to set payments on about $800 trillion worth of financial instruments” — CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC have only spent about 12 minutes combined covering the story during their evening newscasts and opinion programming.

Notably, flagship nightly news programs like ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams and Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier have never mentioned the rate-fixing scandal. Sunday morning standards including ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS’ Face the Nation, CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, and Fox’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace have also been silent on the story.

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Meanwhile, MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes’ — which airs on weekend mornings — ran a July 7 segment on the LIBOR scandal that “was almost 19 minutes long, including a roundtable discussion with two economists.” Media Matters noted, “That’s longer than all broadcast and cable morning coverage surveyed and substantially more than primetime coverage, arguably when these networks have their highest viewership.”