Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Point: Your One-Stop Shop for Disinformation

It would be nice if Hyman would get even the most basic facts right in his editorials, but apparently even reading the text of a bill he spends an entire commentary bashing is beyond him.

Hyman comes to the defense of that poor, put-upon, Mom and Pop store, Wal-Mart, accusing those who are objecting to the
mega-corporation's attempts to form its own in-house banking system of being hypocrites, since they didn't object to Target doing the same thing.

In particular, Hyman goes after Iowa Republican Congressman (and, until a few months ago, my very own Representative) for introducing legislation that would prevent Wal-Mart from creating its own industrial bank but that doesn't go after Target. According to Hyman, Leach is unfairly singling out Wal-Mart.

One might point out that Wal-Mart, with three times the number of stores of Target and with a long and infamous history of predatory business practices, deserves more scrutiny than other chains. But one still has to admit that Hyman has a valid point in saying that there's at least a whiff of hypocrisy in the air when legislation is aimed at a particular company and not others, right?

Actually, no. That’s
because Leach's legislation does aim at industrial banks of all sorts. True, it would prevent Wal-Mart from opening a bank for its own purposes that would not fall under the government regulations that govern mostc banks, but it also specifically calls for industrial banks currently in existence to be done away with (or to be brought into accord with existing banking regulations) in the course of the next five years. When Hyman says the Leach legislation targets Wal-Mart specifically, he is categorically and demonstrably wrong (or lying).

It's important to note that Leach is hardly a crusader for the common consumer or worker. His motivation comes directly from the fact that Leach's background is in banking, and he's firmly in the pocket of banking interests. The legislation is intended to prevent large corporations such as Wal-Mart from doing to community banks what they've done through other means to almost every other type of local business. But whatever his motivation, one thing you cannot say about it is that he's only after Wal-Mart.

As we've noted before, Hyman's regular defense of Wal-Mart on "The Point" has a lot to do with the fact that Sinclair Broadcasting takes a Wal-Martian approach to the news game: take over local news outlets, do business by cutting as many corners as possible, provide low-cost and low-quality product in a homogenized context, and treat employees with contempt and suspicion. It also has to do with Sinclair's own questionable connections with Wal-Mart through their shared buddy, Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich. (Note that Hyman refers to the "Maryland legislation" that he claims targeted Wal-Mart, but fails to mention that the veto of this legislation came from Ehrlich, a man who received unethical campaign contributions from Sinclair, lobbied on Sinclair's behalf when in Congress without disclosing his connection to the company, and for whom Hyman worked when Ehrlich was in Congress).

Hyman's commentary, while claiming to show malevolent motivations on the part of Leach, simply affirms Sinclair's own shady values and Hyman's estrangement from anything approximating the truth.

And that's The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.52


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