Weekend Goodies: The U.S. Economic Debacle Explained and Mike Wallace's Classic Interviews
Before I head out for the weekend, I wanted to hit you with some amazing media stuff I stumbled on this week to get you through the weekend, if the St. Petersburg Gran Prix and women's NCAA in Tampa aren't enough.
First up is a riveting interview with academic Michael Greenberg on NPR's Fresh Air. Greenburg does an amazing job of explaining how lax regulation of mortgage investments allowed speculators to risk huge segments of the American economy on a bet that mortgage holders would pay off their loans. But because the banks which made the loans were making their profit on processing fees and revenue from selling the loans to other investors, they made no effort to make sure people who got the loans could pay them off. Now the Secretary of the Treasury has announced an overhaul of the country's economic regulatory agencies which would provide less regulation and do nothing to address the current crisis.
Second, NPR today featured audio from Robert Kennedy's historic speech in Indianapolis on the day of Martin Luther King's death. Kennedy was making what he thought would be a routine campaign stop; instead, he had to tell the crowd King was dead, killed by a white man, and somehow hope to prevent violence. He said: "For those of you who are black and are tempted to ... be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling," he said. "I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man."
Third, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas has an extensive library of clips from Mike Wallace's first self-titled national interview show, aired from 1957 to 1960. The Ransom Center has videos of the interviews in 1957 and 1958; you can also read transcripts. Conducted in black and white with a black background, the conversations -- ranging from a sit down with Klan leader Eldon Edwards to film star Kirk Douglas and artist Salvador Dali-- were a clear precursor to the chat shows helmed by Tom Snyder, Charlie Rose and Larry King. I'm not sure what's more jarring about these clips; the way sponsor Phillip Morris has smoke from a lit cigarette morph into the show's logo, or Wallace segueing from a solemn intro of Edwards' interview into a full-blown commercial for Phillip Morris cigarettes, which he smokes on camera.