Many of us waited years for Bill Keller to own up to his key role in helping legitimize the disastrous Iraq War, but it never happened. So it’s no surprise that, instead of admitting he wrongly supported deregulation of the financial services industry, he chooses to ridicule the long-overdue public backlash against Wall Street crooks:
Funny, he doesn’t look like Marie Antoinette. But when former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller asks his readers if they are “bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street,” it displays the arrogance of disoriented royal privilege.
Perhaps his contempt for anti-corporate protesters was honed by the example of his father, once the chairman of Chevron. In any case, it is revealing, given the cheerleading support that the Times gave to the radical deregulation of Wall Street that occurred when Keller was the managing editor of the newspaper.
As the Times reported on its news pages in 1998, heralding the merger that created Citigroup as the world’s largest financial conglomerate: “In a single day, with a bold merger, pending legislation in Congress to sweep away Depression-era restrictions on the financial services industry has been given a sudden, and unexpected, new chance of passage…”
… One would think that the failure of The New York Times to cover this sorry tale as it was unfolding would leave Keller with some humble understanding of why protesters, undeterred by rain, should be celebrated rather than scorned. But such accountability has hardly been a hallmark of those in the media or in business and political circles, who with few exceptions got it so wrong.
It’s a law of nature: The most arrogant and rigid-minded fools are also the fools who are least likely to apologize for major errors, or even acknowledge them.