Video

The White-Collar Perp Walk

This week, hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin became the first Wall Street executives to get caught up in the government's crackdown of the subprime mortgage crisis.

The FBI suggests this is just the beginning of these kinds of arrests. It is investigating 19 major companies for wrongdoing related to the subprime mortgage crisis. So the question is: are we are returning to the era of the high-ranking executive perp walk?

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports.

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Normally, I don't mind seeing these folks get their comeuppance. After all, if we saw a mugger getting this kind of treatment, we wouldn't think twice about it.

There is, however, a bit of government manipulation about this. After all, the FBI PAO gave all the media outlets the head-ups. The camera people got their signal to start rolling, like the direction for a porno.

And there was something pornographic about it. The fact that Dina Temple-Raston used a jardon word from the porno industry to describe the pictures of the accused wasn't lost on me. It seems that these pictures, like pornos, serve some basic urge, in this case, an urge to see the wealthy pay for poor people's suffering.

I don't know if it serves the interest of justice, however. I don't blame the reporters for covering the perp walks; it's news, after all. I just don't feel very clean after watching it.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon | 2:50 PM | 6-23-2008