Friday, February 27, 2009

Observer still up Ken Lewis' butt

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM

If you read the Charlotte Observer's version of Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis' encounter yesterday with the New York Attorney General's Office, you'd think everything at the meeting was hunky-dory. Reading the daily's version of the Associated Press story, you'd never know that heads were turned by Lewis flying into NY in his $50 million corporate jet, nor that he refused to give the NY Attorney General's people what they wanted (an accounting of how $3.6 billion in bonuses was distributed among Merrill Lynch bigwigs). And you'd have to practically read between the last few lines of the article to find out that, oh by the way, Lewis was served later in the day with a subpoena ordering him to turn over the information ASAP. Other newspapers around the country ran the same article, only at its original length, and with the AP's original headline ("BofA CEO Ken Lewis keeps lips sealed"). In fact, of all the newspapers we checked online (about 25 papers), the Charlotte Observer's "version" of the AP story was the only one that didn't place emphasis on Lewis' refusal to give the requested information. The Observer, instead, emphasized the fact that Lewis had deigned to appear at all. My point? This is a big national story, guys! — for your own credibility, you need to do these BofA stories right! Yesterday's clash is obviously the beginning of a legal battle between NY authorities and Charlotte's most well-known and influential corporation, one that's at the center of the current, historic national financial mess. So why soft-sell or downplay Lewis' display of arrogance? It seems that old habits, namely bending over for B of A, die hard on South Tryon Street.

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