No Context on the Fed’s New Fangs

Since when has the Federal Reserve been an investigative pit bull?

Since never. But don’t look to the major papers for that context this morning in their reports on Chairman Bernanke’s toughish comments to Congress yesterday on Goldman Sachs and the Greek swaps scandal.

The closest you get from the The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Financial Times, or Washington Post is this from the Post:

It was unusual for Bernanke to comment publicly on the Fed’s review of the actions of a bank under its supervision. That information is usually confidential, and it was unclear whether his comments were a slip of the tongue or meant more strategically to show that the Fed is being tough on Goldman and other Wall Street firms.

And none of the three mentions another critical piece of context: That the Fed is under the gun right now in Congress, which is threatening to take away significant parts of its powers. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that follows this stuff closely that Bernanke’s sudden muscle-flexing is an expediency. He’s trying to preserve his fiefdom from Chris Dodd and Co.

Don’t you think readers who don’t have time to follow financial news all day deserve to know that? A paragraph would have sufficed.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.