Lobbying for Central Bankers
Sorry for the hiatus the last few days, kids, I've been recovering from a nasty stomach bug that apparently has been making the rounds on the East Coast (news to me, never got it in California, maybe that good green cloud keeps us healthy). I'm not surprised, being so close to the nexus of the infectious black hole of doom that is our federal government can be hazardous to your health. But I was recovered enough to spend yesterday doing what I love to do more than anything (that'll stay between me and the Paperboy, tyvm) so apparently I'm on the mend and will survive.
Anyway, now that I live in DC, I've had the pleasure of sitting in the front row for a live lobbying meeting, er, Capitol Hill hearing and I have to say it's really no different than getting pestered by candy girls pimping cigarettes and premium vodka shots at the club. This whole press conference plan feels a lot like that too, except there will be no premium vodka shots to go with Bernanke's best puppet lines.
Anyone else smell the desperation? First the guy goes on 60 Minutes, then he goes on 60 Minutes again, now this. What next? Bernanke's Road Trip across America in a big fancy Fed bus? I'd pay good, almost-worthless FRNs to see that.
Next Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will do something no Fed chief has done before: Stand before a room full of journalists after officials conclude a policy meeting and answer questions about the central bank's decisions.
Washington churns out press conferences the way Kansas cranks out wheat. But this briefing will carry more import than most: Mr. Bernanke has been on a campaign since taking the helm of the Fed in 2006 to make it more transparent and consensus-driven. The financial crisis severely shook public confidence in the Fed, the economy has recovered unevenly since then, and Mr. Bernanke faces disagreement on his own policy-making committee.
So wait... puppet media meets puppet Fed chairman for a post-FOMC Q&A? This doesn't smell like desperation after all, more like staged set-up.
Let the bloggers have at Bernanke for three hours and then maybe we can talk.
Hold on, hold on, it gets really funny.
In February, on the sidelines of a meeting of financial officials in Paris, Mr. Bernanke quizzed Mr. Trichet and other European central bankers on how they manage their press conferences. He'll do dress rehearsals, with staffers peppering him with questions, as the briefing nears.
Mr. Bernanke's staff, meanwhile, has spent weeks scripting the mechanics of how the press conference will work.
Dress rehearsals! Now that's funny. Who at the Board is going to play Jon Hilsenrath asking Bernanke questions he already knows the answer to?