Feb
15
2011

WaPo's Anonymous Source Trashes TARP Watchdog

From the Washington Post piece today (2/15/11) about TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky's resignation:

"We're fine with critics," said one Treasury official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak more candidly. "[But] he's been consistently wrong about a lot of big things."

That's a prettyserious charge to level atsomeone–which is probablywhy you'd do so anonymously, since then youdon't have to back it up. Why the Post would print it is another matter entirely. Thefact that they would refer to this as a "candid" assessment is totally puzzling. Read the rest of the article, though, and you come away with a sense that Barofsky upset the wrong people:

He quickly emerged as an aggressive overseer, viewed as a much-needed cop monitoring for waste and fraud within TARP by some lawmakers and watchdog groups, and, by Treasury officials and financial-industry representatives, as a self-promoter whose overreaching investigations scared some needy banks away from participating in the federal aid program.

In his sometimes scathing reports to Congress, Barofsky showed little reluctance in criticizing administration officials on everything from how their lack of transparency was fueling "anger, cynicism and distrust" to how their foreclosure prevention efforts had fallen well below expectations.

If the Post really believes that Barofsky was "wrong about a lot of big things," it should explain–or get someone else to do so. Giving a government official–who has presumably been on the receiving end of Barofsky's criticism–a chance to hit back anonymously is poor journalism.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.