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Commentary: Let cable news bash AIG

  • Story Highlights
  • Brown: Politicians having field day slamming AIG bonuses
  • Late-night comedians also unleashing populist outrage
  • Politicians are right to criticize, but should focus on fixing the problem, she says
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Editor's note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN's "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the "Cutting through the Bull" segment of Tuesday night's broadcast.

CNN's Campbell Brown says complaining politicians should have known about AIG's bonus plans.

CNN's Campbell Brown says complaining politicians should have known about AIG's bonus plans.

(CNN) -- Monday night, we told you we would be profiling the villains of this crisis, those we think belong in our Rogue's Gallery. But what we are discovering the more we learn about AIG and the more willing we are to take a step back and look at the big picture, it becomes harder to pinpoint exactly where we should be directing our anger.

But that hasn't stopped Washington or the late-night comedians from unleashing as they try to tap into all that populist outrage. Look:

President Obama: "It is hard to understand how derivatives traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York: "This is disgraceful. This is unacceptable."

Jay Leno: "You know what AIG stands for? Anybody know? Adventures in greed."

Stephen Colbert: "Our founding fathers knew that when the rights of the people get trampled, we must become a torch and pitchfork-wielding mob empty of all thoughts. An injured, vengeful animal lashing out blindly at shapes and colors. Let's go get AIG!"

You expect Colbert to be over the top. But Iowa's Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley?

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Grassley: "I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them, if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I'm sorry and then either do one of two things, resign or go commit suicide, and in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology."

Without question, all the politicians are right. There are plenty of people at AIG who are plenty deserving of all the outrage, especially when we hear as we did Tuesday that those "retention bonuses" so necessary, they told us, to keep the best and brightest from jumping ship, were actually given to a lot of people who have already flown the coop.

It is the disingenuousness on top of the economic calamity. Enough already. But the disingenuousness is by no means limited to AIG. As has been pointed out time and time again, AIG went public more than a year ago with its plans to give out these bonuses and all the politicians and White House officials doing the screaming and yelling either did know that or should have known that.

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Guys, get it together please. We don't need you to feel our pain. We need you to fix this problem, minus the histrionics. Leave that to cable news. Instead, how about you focus on what you're going to do when it is time to write AIG yet another check?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Campbell Brown.

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