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November 17, 2012

Excellent Reporting on Treasury's FX Decision

The Treasury Department released its very important decision to exempt foreign exchange swaps and forwards from financial regulation late Friday night.  This cynical and shameful act was done for one purpose and one purpose only:  to avoid media coverage, public attention, scrutiny and criticism, as spelled out here.  

It is meant to jam the few reporters still  around that late on a Friday night (not coincidentally just before the Thanksgiving Day holiday) and basically force them to just report the Treasury’s press release and nothing else.  A one-sided and incomplete story is the real goal.   

The Treasury’s strategy worked almost perfectly.  There were very few stories and only one that we could find that actually reported not just the Treasury’s press package, but actually reported in detail about the decision, what it meant, what critics said about it and the context:  Silla Brush’s Bloomberg article, entitled “U.S. Treasury Exempts Foreign Exchange Swaps from Dodd Frank,” was posted at 9:26 PM last night.  (Full disclosure: it quotes from a press release Better Markets emailed to reporters last night.)

This is exactly the kind of high quality, informed, balanced reporting that the Treasury was trying to avoid.  However, Treasury probably still views its manipulation of information a success because there were so few articles and only one that told the full story, but even that was so late on Friday and leading into a Saturday of a holiday week that few will read it –precisely Treasury’s calculus.  

Prove Treasury wrong:  read the article, blog about it, retweet it, post it on Facebook and elsewhere, like it, email it, and send it to everyone you know.  Not because you agree with it or usor even because you care about or know about the issue (which, although very important to financial reform, protecting taxpayers and preventing bailouts, is admittedly arcane).  Do it to show an arrogant Treasury Department that people are watching and won’t sit by quietly doing nothing while it tries to make a very controversial decision under cover of darkness counting on no one seeing, caring or doing anything about it.  

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