When you control information you control the narrative E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

If you want to get the straight dope as far what’s going on with your pension and pensions in general you’ve got quite a task ahead of you. You could watch FOX News. There you can see Congressmen, job creators, and various semi-famous people with too much make up like Dana Perino talking about how pensions are killing this once great nation. You will hear lots of stuff about greedy public employees and their undeserved and exorbitant pensions on FOX all the time. So you head over to MSNBC. There you will hear people like Morning Joe Scarborough, former Congressman and crazy old person Alan Simpson and Willie Geist talk about how pensions are killing this once great nation. You will hear lots of stuff about greedy public employees and their undeserved and exorbitant pensions on MSNBC. Is anyone starting to see a pattern here?

Frustrated with the mainstream, corporate media, you turn to PBS. It’s “public broadcasting” after all. Surely there isn’t some hedge fund manager pulling the strings at PBS and its affiliates right?


According to an article posted on the website Raw Story, a two-year investigative series that clearly advocated cutting pensions for public employees was very quietly funded by a billionaire hedge fund manager.

According to Raw Story and the Pando Daily, a spokesperson for the series, Pension Peril, confirmed that the “lead funder” for the show’s production is former Enron trader John Arnold.

Arnold’s a one-percenter community activist and he’s spending some of the billions he made at Enron to convince voters that our economic woes and obscene income inequality stem from the fact that a cop in

Detroit can look forward to $23,000 a year after they retire.

Arnold’s outfit says it’s to fix the “untenable” state of employee pensions by “educating lawmakers and the public about the nature of the problem.”

Arnold’s people work very hard to convince politicians and political action committees to enlist their support in their campaign to gut pensions.

If you haven’t been reading anything about this it pretty much comes down to this- guys like Arnold aren’t making nearly as much money off your retirement savings in the current system so they’d like to change it so workers get lots less and they get lots more.

It’s pretty basic moneyman greed stuff and hard to defend when it’s made plain.

But that’s where the secretly funded “educational show,” can be so handy. If people don’t know the shows were paid for by the takers, the arguments against the makers sound a lot less predatory.

There’s some hubbub about whether or not the propaganda may have “violated PBS rules.”

The relationship between PBS, affiliate WNET-TV that launched the series late last year, and the foundation may violate PBS conflict-of-interest rules.

A foundation spokesperson said the whole thing was their idea- not Arnold’s. But that’s what you’re likely to hear from anyone that needs money and doesn’t care where it comes from.

After a PBS affiliate sold the idea of an anti-pension educational campaign to an Enron billionaire that just happened to be one of the most activist anti-pension crusaders in US history, Arnold’s foundation gave WNET $3.5 million for the show to be produced.

It’s probably just a coincidence.

As for the show it’s pretty much standard anti-union, anti-public employee anti-worker claptrap.

Pando reported that several of the show’s segments have amazingly neglected to include information that might contradict the idea that pensions are the new Al Qaeda.

Most folks that have had it with the fake fight between the donkey and the elephant know you can’t find out anything about anything on FOX or MSNBC. They’re bought and paid for.

But when you can’t even watch a PBS show about public policy without it being funded by a billionaire that stands to get more billions by gutting pensions that’s a pretty good indication of who the “big dog” in this fight is.

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