Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ken Lay, spread your golden wings...

...Sail on freedom's wind across the sky.
Great man, with your golden dreams
Flying free, flying high!

I'm not sure which is more significant, Ken Lay's trial date finally being set for 17 January 2006 or the fact that the story didn't appear in a search on CNN's main website. I learned about it from Yahoo's In the News box on its front page, and the story it links to is from the Associated Press. CNN relegated its story to the CNNMoney site, but when I checked back a few minutes after clicking on the front-page link to the Lay story, the link had been replaced by one to a Greenspan story.

My guess is ratings. CNN doesn't want to alienate conservative viewers, who would see pushing a story of this sort as pursuing a liberal agenda. And putting the pope's surgery at the top of the news is bound to attract more viewers.

But maybe my negative feelings about Dubya's administration and financial connections make it harder for me to see that CNN is actually being balanced in its reporting. Perhaps a story about the suspects in a white-collar crime that occurred in October 2001 who will finally go to trial in January 2006 should appear in the business section. Its newsworthiness isn't insignificant, but it's not front-page either. Without the presidential connection, it's just another Wall Street Journal story about the fall of another king of industry.

But a
column by CNN's Mark Shields yesterday makes the whole thing seem as much Pennsylvania Avenue as Wall Street. Shields writes that Lay personally contributed $100,000 to the Bush campaign and $100,000 to the inaugural and provided corporate jets on 14 occasions during the campaign. Lay met with Cheney on the Energy Task Force in 2001 and successfully prevented price caps from being imposed. The connection between the White House and this white-collar criminal seems to be as close as Kenny Boy's and Dubya's hands down in each other's pockets.

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