Dylan Ratigan’s Mad-As-Hell Moment on MSNBC
If you have never seen the movie Network, do yourself a favor and rent it. The 1976 classic, directed by Sidney Lumet, is best known for the galvanizing rant by network news anchor Howard Beale, who pleaded to America to get angry. “I want you to get up right now and go to the window, stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
Peter Finch won an Oscar for his performance. Dylan Ratigan deserves an award for a similar performance this week on MSNBC. Ratigan wasn’t acting and his rant was unscripted, but it was equally brilliant.
I have always been a fan of Ratigan from his days of covering Enron and Goldman Sachs for CNBC. I was glad to see him get his own show on MSNBC. He is smart, fearless, non-partisan and, as we saw this week, passionate about the corruption that is eating away at our government and financial institutions.
It started as a typical cable news round table, with partisans blaming the others’ political party for our current financial crisis, when an exasperated Ratigan interrupted the discussion by shouting: “What are you talking about? We’ve got a real problem! This is a mathematical fact! Tens of trillions of dollars are being extracted from the United States of America. Democrats aren’t doing it. Republicans aren’t doing it. An entire integrated system, financial system, trading system, taxing system that was created by both parties over a period of two decades is at work on our entire country right now. And we’re sitting here arguing about whether we should do the Democrats $4 trillion plan that kicks the can down the road for the president for 2017, or the Republicans who want to burn the place to the ground, both of which are reckless, irresponsible and stupid.”
The rest of the panel just watched as Ratigan continued his six-minute rant, one he apoligized for but admitted has been perculating for three years. At one point he called on President Obama to give a national address and tell the American people that he is not working with a “bought Congress” anymore. He went on to give specifics on how to get us out of our financial crisis, including direct government two percent loans to the nation’s businesses because “America’s banking system is fully corrupt and defrauding us.”
It was a raw and powerful “live” TV moment that is worth watching and remembering as we enter the 2012 campaign. Any real change in our system must start with anger. Dylan Ratigan gave us all a jump-start. The MSNBC host is proud of his outburst, as he should be. On his show’s website, Ratigan called it his “epic ‘Network’ moment.” Howard Beale would be proud.