The Other McCain

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#OWS: Public Radio Producer Fired After Taking Advice From Conor Friedersdorf

Posted on | October 29, 2011 | 41 Comments

Caitlin Curran had a job as a WNYC radio producer. Then she listened to Conor Friedersdorf. Now she is the 99%:

It all started with an article on The Atlantic‘s web site. Conor Friedersdorf’s piece “Occupy Wall Street’s Greatest Strength Is Neutering It,” echoed what many people are wondering about the movement: what are they fighting for? . . .
My boyfriend, Will, and I decided to take Friedersdorf’s words and use them, perhaps more literally than he intended. We printed them out, taped them to poster board, and headed to the Occupy Wall Street march in Times Square, on October 15. . . .
I thought all of this could be fodder for an interesting segment on The Takeaway — a morning news program co-produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International — for which I had been working as a freelance web producer roughly 20 hours per week for the past seven months. I pitched the idea to producers on the show, in an e-mail.
The next day, The Takeaway’s general manager fired me over the phone, effective immediately. He was inconsolably angry, and said that I had violated every ethic of journalism, and that this should be a “teaching moment” for me in my career as a journalist.

Curran goes on about how she’s a martyr for the First Amendment, but she wasn’t fired for exercising her right to be an obnoxious lefty — plenty of those on the WNYC payroll — but for being an obnoxious lefty stupid enough to listen to Conor Friedersdorf. Basically, she flunked an IQ test: “But Conor Friedersdorf thought it was a good idea!”

Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard Tweeted:

I’m picturing Curran in the unemployment office, trying to explain her situation to the lady behind the desk: “See, there was this awesome article in The Atlantic by Conor Friedersorf . . .”

UPDATE: Linked by Don Surber and God’s Own Crunkthanks! — and welcome, Instapundit readers!


41 Responses to “#OWS: Public Radio Producer Fired After Taking Advice From Conor Friedersdorf”

  1. Joe
    October 29th, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    NPR wants to show it will fire you not only for talking to Fox.  First Amendment martyr?  Hardly.  Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

    Also, anyone who listens to Conor F. is just dumb. 

  2. g b
    October 29th, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    Conor sighting at Ricochet.

  3. jwallin
    October 29th, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    Conor; one N and zero life experience or common sense.

    Yes, yes. That’s “our” Conor.

  4. Elize Nayden
    October 29th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm


    I really cant stop laughing about this. Lil smartass Friedersdorf. But at least she didnt pay for his advice. Conor is generous enough to provide reasons to be fired free of charge:

    “When I criticize Mr. Breitbart, or his sites Big Hollywood, Big Government and Big Journalism, part of my project is pressuring them to do better work. In fact, I’d happily provide my counsel to anyone at those sites privately and free of charge, and I think that much of the critiques I’ve published thus far are constructive.”

    Yes, thats an actual quote of Mr. Friedersdorf. Constructive indeed. Hilarious!

  5. ThomasD
    October 29th, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    So what you are saying is that Conor is not really an abject idiot, but really, and in actuality a super secret false flag double agent merely pretending to be a moby in order to discredit and destroy progressivism one idiot at a time.

  6. BigGator5
    October 29th, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    Cry me a river, Caitlin. I’ve been unemployed since early 2009.

  7. richard mcenroe
    October 29th, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    Taking advice from Conor Friesdorsf will get your unemployment bennies pulled.  It’s a little-known clause in Obamacare, right behind the one that gives the Surgeon General the authority to raise 300,000 troops.

  8. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    So does that make Conor a “useful idiot,” then?

  9. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    It’s truly amazing how he speaks with such clear diction with his head so far up his ass, isn’t it?

    Must be a riot at parties.

  10. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    “But Conor Friedersdorf thought it was a good idea!” must rival “Hey, y’all – watch THIS!” in the lexicon of famous last words.

  11. richard mcenroe
    October 29th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    Yeah, but the next thing a redneck will say after the smoke clears is, “Well, that didn’t turn out so good…”

    The next thing a lefty says before trying the same damn thing all over again is, “It’s never been tried PROPERLY yet!”

    Lefties.  Slower to learn than a drunken redneck.

  12. richard mcenroe
    October 29th, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    Actually, I’m with NPR on this one.  Anyone stupid enough to quote CF in public should be forced to stay inside.

  13. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    “Conor Friedersdorf” is another name I mostly read about on this blog.  So I can’t offer any opinion about him, but I’ll take RSM at his word.

    However, the text of her sign is, in fact, a great illustration of OWS, and apparently a quote from the CF piece:

    Much easier to decide that it’s wrong to create a mortgage-backed security filled with loans you know are going to fail so that you can sell it to a client who isn’t aware that you sabotaged it by intentionally picking the misleadingly rated loans most likely to be defaulted upon.

    I think this is accurate as far as it goes.  Of course, it omits the incentives for just this behavior created by the government.  It’s just the sort of skimming the surface type of analysis that progs reliably spout.  Yes, I’m sure many of the private sector people involved knew what would happen if the bubble burst.  But when there’s profit to be made, someone will make it.  

    The real scandal is that it was all legal and exactly what the government wanted them to do!

  14. Conor Friedersdorf
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    Actually, Scarymatt, it was illegal, the SEC brought charges, and Goldman Sachs paid a $550 million fine for its violations, but don’t let reality upset your ignorant, ideological notion of what actually happened.

    RSM, I’d like to hear why objecting to the Abacus deal makes someone a lefty. Oh, you were just mindlessly trolling? I guess that’s what the folks come here for.

  15. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    The statement quoted seems to cover the general practice of reducing down payments, credit requirements, etc, then packaging them up and selling them off to be backed with assurances from the US Government.
    Yes, the Abacus thing was actually illegal.  And people actually got in trouble for it.  And it’s pretty much peanuts (“Investors in the liabilities of ABACUS are alleged to have lost more than $1 billion”), anyways compared to all of the legal stuff that was done.

    I didn’t see anything in your article explicitly talking about the Abacus stuff in your column or hers.  This comment of yours now either shows that you’re a terrible writer (to not mention the actual subject of an article in the article!) or trying to rewrite history.

    But, to paraphrase you, please don’t let a sense of proportion or reality get in the way of an ignorant snark on a blog comment.  Also, thanks for confirming RSM’s evaluation.

  16. Daily scoreboard « Don Surber
    October 29th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    […] From Robert Stacy McCain: “Caitlin Curran had a job as a WNYC radio producer. Then she listened to Conor Friedersdorf. […]

  17. Conor Friedersdorf
    October 29th, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    So to sum up your argument, Matt, the government created the incentive for the thing that it fined Goldman Sachs $550 million for doing. I’m curious. When you said that my piece “omits the incentives for just this behavior created by the government,” what were you talking about? What government policy, pray tell, incentivized investment banks to create bets on mortgages where the side betting against got to secretly pick the particular mortgages being bet on?

  18. McGehee
    October 29th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    So does this mean Ezra Klein is wiser than Conor, or less wise?

  19. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

    Yes, the government obviously created incentives for this illegal scheme by encouraging lenders to lend money to people who had no business borrowing that much money.  That’s no excuse for illegal behavior, and you’ll note that I didn’t defend it.

    But what about all the other similar behavior?  By which I mean creating those loans to begin with.  And all the others that were doomed to fail.  Yes, some people did the obvious of betting against these ridiculous loans.  And then they mislead the people on the other side of the bet.  Let’s be clear, the illegal part was the misleading, not the bet itself.  A bet made possible by the mortgage market as it existed.  And which was shaped in large part by the US Government (affordable housing initiatives, CRA, Fannie and Freddie).

    Finally, I don’t know if you’re really progressive or not, and I don’t really care.  But if the lesson you draw from what happened with mortgages (yes, including Abacus) is that we need to Do Something about Wall Street, then you’re just as stupid as a typical progressive.

  20. jwallin
    October 29th, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Notice how Conor (with one N) picked on the only person who claimed to have no familiarity with him. I guess Conor (with one N) figured he’d be easy meat as those of us in the know, know Conor (with one N) is a know nothing liberal pushover.

    To scarymatt; to sum up Conor (with one N), he works for the same rag (The Atlantic) as Andrew Sullivan and he lives in Venice Beach CA. (a well known alt culture/hippie/surfer hangout South of Santa Monica). Get it? IYKWIMAITTYD

    He writes ABOUT conservatives. He isn’t one though.

  21. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    To be fair, protesting Wall Street over mortgages makes more sense than protesting against Wall Street about student loans, which seems to be a BIG #OWS motivator.

  22. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    “We printed them [the quote] out, taped them to poster board, and headed to the
    Occupy Wall Street march in Times Square, on October 15. The plan was
    for Will to hold the sign, and for me to observe what happened and post
    reports to my personal Twitter account…”

    How can she not see this to be a fireable offense for a journalist? She’s become an activist and is planting a story to advance it. That is not journalism. Maybe she could say she was running a sting and would’ve disclosed it as some sort of investigative journalism when she aired the story. However, she wasn’t stinging to expose corruption in the movement; she was using a plant as advocacy.

    With the special privilege she gets by grabbing a “journalist” title, she completely ignored the concomitant responsibility that goes along with it. WNYC was pretty much left with only one option, and they took it. They had to. Their credibility is at stake, too.

  23. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    I should clarify. I used the term “journalist” as a catchall. Yes, she’s a producer in this instance, but actually she’s creating content de novo as a journalist as opposed to just packaging news for (re)distribution via another. IOW, “just being a producer” (my words/interpretation of an excuse) is a dodge to what was actually poor, unethical journalism.

  24. Charles G. Hill
    October 29th, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    This is like asking whether a bag of hammers or a sack of donut holes is the smarter.

  25. ThomasD
    October 29th, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    Right.  As if the SEC is some sort of neutral arbiter in this instance.  As opposed to an organization hip deep in the shit, entirely complicit in the whole endeavor, and horribly conflicted to boot.

    Fantasy worlds indeed.

  26. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    Well, yeah – people steal ideas all the time, but most – like this one – was a general and obvious enough one that there couldn’t even be any moral claim of intellectual property, so to mention she stole it from a guy who fraternizes with known conservatives was stupid, even he if does get his testicles waxed at the same salon as her boss.

  27. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    But it was for NPR.  Why would “journalistic ethics” be a consideration?

  28. mark
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:47 am

    “Oh, you were just mindlessly trolling? I guess that’s what the folks come here for.”

    and here you are…

    your article sucked.  you should have said-
    ‘the protestors have no idea what they are doing’.

    instead, you talked in circles, where ‘big decisions’ are simply big ‘questions’, yadda yadda…

    you should defend work you are proud of, conor.  this ‘work’ is souless and empty.

  29. mark
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:51 am

    one other thing-
    the two hands on the glass photo…

    you really are ‘choking’ that thing.  does anyone, outside of a gay bar, actually do the two hands on the glass thing?

    thomas friedman does not count.

  30. Nathan Hall
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:00 am

    What’s unethical about this? Assuming the whole situation is revealed to the audience, what’s wrong with it? I don’t get it.

  31. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:25 am

    Journalistic ethics? Isn’t that kind of a contradiction in terms? Especially when we are talking about “public” broadcasting.

  32. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:53 am

    Actually, you are wrong. Goldman settled, and did not admit guilt.

    Further, there was no allegation that the buyer (a German bank) were misled about the nature or contents of the security.

    It was that they did not tell the the buyer, that a well known short had suggested the contents to the third party that made the selections. Whether that it is material was the legal question. Personally, I doubt that a trier of fact would have found in favor of the Buyer. But that was not relevant.

    The action was commenced because the SEC, which had made a miserable botch of the whole ABS fiasco, and of the Madoff ponzi scheme, was trying to suck up to its elders and betters who needed ritual sacrifice to sell the ironically named Dodd-Frank bill. It was settled, after DF was enacted because the SEC knew it had a weak case, and Goldman wanted the beating to stop.

    Further you are wrong about the nature of “Wall Street” (most of the banks are uptown now) and its relationship to free enterprise.

    The Banking business was created to finance the operation of the Federal government. It was not as the Hayekian’s say an emergent process. The Federal government created the national banking system during the Civil War to do just that, the federal reserve, the New Deal laws, and other changes through and including DF, are further attempts to keep it upright.

    The system must and will stay the way it is unless and until the world’s largest debtor (USA) has paid its debts.

    BTW, did you know that all of the major financial corporations had Federal examiners in their offices monitoring their well being at all times in 2008?

  33. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:00 am

    Phrased that way, of course, you slide right over the fact that the government TOLD the banks they must make bad mortgages in the first place.

    You conveniently forget that the gummint FORCED banks to get in bed with Freddie/Fannie.  (My sister, a big lib in SFO,  always puzzled why her bank wanted her to UNDER-state her income when she refinanced.  She knows now that they were trying to reach a quota, one that would satisfy Fannie/Freddie. By understating her income, she put herself inside the “window” of potential mortgagees that the gummint was pandering to.

    So when the banks then had to figure out what to do with all the mortgages based on liar loans, zero-down mortgages etc., you blame the banks!

  34. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:01 am

    “Inconsolably angry” “?????     WTF?   To be inconsolable is to be so grief-stricken as to be beyond consoling.

    What he hell does that have to do with being angry?

    When it comes to English, it seems our lady journo  “don’t speaka da lang”

  35. mark
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:02 am


    the word is tossed around, excessively, but, in the case of conor, he is the archtype.

  36. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:04 am

    I think the fallacy here is CF’s statement that mortage backed securities were created based on loans that lenders knew would fail.  The whole idea of MBS traunches was to reduce the likelihood for failure by bundling loans.  Based on the statistics that a small number of mortgage loans default, such bundling appeared to be reducing the overall default risk.  

    Incidents like the Abacus scandal were a mere drop in the bucket and did not cause the 2008 financial collapse.  The banks were over-leveraged, lending out up to 30 times their securities assets.   Even with good loans backing the lending, banks that lend far more then their assets are vulnerable when the economy deflates.

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  39. Andrew Patrick
    October 30th, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    All right. Maybe someone can explain to what she did that was so wrong. I mean, I hear that it constitutes “manufacturing a story”, but…isn’t that what they do every day?

    Not getting it.

  40. ThomasD
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    She seriously thought her job was to provoke an honest discussion of just WTF these people thought they were trying to accomplish.

     You never ask a question when you don’t already know what the answer will be.  At least not from a lefty to a lefty – that’s not a faux pas, it’s a hanging offense.

  41. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    My trolls bring all the progs to the yard.