Libor Scandal Claims Big Media: ABC and NBC

By Pam Martens: August 1, 2012 

Back on July 3, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone wondered aloud on his blog: “Why is Nobody Freaking Out About the Libor Banking Scandal?”  Now we have at least a partial answer: two heavily viewed network evening news programs have yet to discover the largest banking scandal in history. 

In a blog post at Media Matters for America, Ben Dimiero and Rob Savillo reported the following yesterday: 

“Despite the enormous implications of the scandal, ABC’s World News and NBC’s Nightly News both ignored the story in the 16 days after news of the Barclays fine broke, as we documented earlier this month. In the 16 days following the period of our original study, the LIBOR blackout has continued on ABC and NBC’s flagship evening news programs. Those programs have gone more than a month without mentioning the controversy.” 

What could possibly explain not one, but two, major network evening news programs blacking out the hottest banking scandal since the failure of Lehman. We did a little more digging here at Wall Street on Parade.

The NBC network is part of NBCUniversal. Stephen B. (Steve) Burke is the CEO of NBCUniversal and an officer of Comcast. Comcast owns 51 percent of NBCUniversal with GE owning the other 49 percent. JPMorgan put that deal together.  Steve Burke has served on the Board of Directors of JPMorgan since 2003.  JPMorgan is heavily implicated in the Libor rigging scandal. 

As previously reported here, prosecutors in the Canadian Competition Bureau have whistleblower testimony heavily implicating JPMorgan:

“According to the prosecutors’ affidavit, a trader working for the whistleblowing firm ‘had communications with two IRD [interest rate derivatives] traders at JPMorgan regarding its Yen Libor submissions. Trader A communicated his trading positions, his desire for a certain movement in Yen Libor and gave instructions for them to get JPMorgan to make Yen Libor submissions consistent with his wishes. Trader A also asked if the IRD traders at JPMorgan required certain Yen Libor submissions to aid their trading positions. The JPMorgan IRD traders acknowledged these requests and said they would act on them. On another occasion one of the JPMorgan IRD traders asked Trader A for a certain Yen Libor submission, which Trader A agreed to help with. Trader A admitted to an IRD Trader at RBS that he colluded with IRD traders at JPMorgan.’  The affidavit provides two names of traders at JPMorgan that prosecutors believe were involved in the scam…Canadian prosecutors have also made it clear that they are looking at far more than just rigging the Libor index. The affidavit states they are investigating whether the banks ‘conspired to prevent or lessen, unduly, competition in the purchase, sale, or supply of interest rate derivatives from 2007 to March 11, 2010…’ ”

Prior to joining Comcast, Burke was President of ABC Broadcasting.  His father, Daniel Burke, who died last year, was the former CEO of Capital Cities/ABC. The Walt Disney Company now owns ABC. 

Back in 2004, Steve Burke stunned the markets and the Disney Board by making an unsolicited bid to buy Disney and merge it with Comcast. The Disney Board rebuffed the offer. 

Disney also has a banking relationship with JPMorgan Chase.  Exactly one week ago, Chase announced the launch of a new Disney Visa debit card, giving customers access to special card member perks when visiting Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts.  

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