ABC World News and NBC Nightly News have had blackout coverage of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) scandal since it broke months ago. The Sisters of Charity of New York are will deliver 5,000 petitions to the producers of these programs on behalf of 250 interfaith congregations on October 4, 2012. As one of the largest banking scandals of our time, these flagship evening news programs have a responsibility to cover how this scandal affects everyday Americans and the most vulnerable in our world.
LIBOR is used as a benchmark for short-term interest rates globally. According to The Economist, LIBOR manipulation affects payments for more than 800 trillion dollars of financial instruments and 99 percent of all commercial products including mortgages, credit cards and pensions, as reported by CNN. Because of the breadth of LIBOR's effects, this scandal will touch people across all income levels.
Mercy Sr. Susan Vickers - Chairwoman of The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Oblate Fr. Seamus Finn - Head of The JPIC Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Eric LeCompte - Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, sent letters to the producers of ABC World News and NBC Nightly News urging them to immediately cover the LIBOR scandal on August 6 — a story that has gone unreported since it broke on June 27. They wrote in their letter, "Our organizations represent almost all of the mainline Churches, more than 100 national organizations and 200 congregations that are concerned about continued corruption in our banking system. The manipulation of these rates affects people across the income spectrum. As faith-based organizations we must stress that this corruption has severe repercussions for the poor and most vulnerable."
Over three months since the scandal began and two months since the letter was sent, no response has been received and the programs are still not reporting on LIBOR. After no responses from NBC and ABC, Jubilee USA Network launched the petition.
Barclays's involvement is clear, with a $450 million fine paid and executives and traders recently coming under heightened scrutiny. However, they are not alone; at least six other major banks — JP Morgan, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, and UBS — have also been issued subpoenas from the attorney generals of New York and Connecticut for investigation of potential involvement in the scandal.
As one of the largest banking scandals of our time, these flagship evening news programs with over seven million viewers each have a responsibility to cover how this scandal affects us and the most vulnerable in our world.