COMMENTS: More High Finance Anxiety

For the second straight day the threat of a meltdown in global financial capitalism led off all three network newscasts. American International Group, the insurance conglomerate, is desperate for an infusion of capital to stave off bankruptcy. Its fate was still unknown at the news hour. Yet, despite those lead items, it was the intersection between the financial markets and Campaign '08 that qualified as Story of the Day. With just seven weeks left until Election Day, all three networks have unveiled feature series on policy issues. Both NBC and CBS call theirs Where They Stand. ABC's is dubbed What's The Difference? Extended analysis of the two candidates' financial platforms by ABC and CBS qualified as the day's most heavily covered story. CBS split its anchoring chores, with Harry Smith in the New York studio and Katie Couric in Colorado, where she interviewed Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

First, the hard news from high finance. ABC's Betsy Stark told us about daylong meetings hosted by the New York Federal Reserve as the Treasury Department tried to convince Goldman Sachs, an investment house, and JP Morgan, a bank, "to offer AIG a line of credit big enough to keep its business going. But they refused." Why was it so important to find those funds? "Because AIG does business with every major financial institution and in 130 countries. When a bank makes a loan to another bank or company, AIG insures those loans," explained CBS' Anthony Mason. "If it goes bankrupt, banks will be forced to come up with capital or call in the loans." Funnily enough NBC, which made such an extra effort on the financial crisis in partnership with CNBC on Monday, went into least detail on the AIG story. CNBC's Carl Quintanilla concluded by informing us that "talks about a potential rescue package between AIG, banks and the government remain very unclear."


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