Big story, Little coverage

Seems the American public is not the only ones being screwed by the banks.

Earlier this month Bank of America closed the accounts of the embassy and consulates of Angola in the United States. The accounts were closed Nov. 9 after the bank warned the Angolans of the decision with an unsigned letter. The bank gave no explanation for its action.

The most likely reason: Banks are calculating that the effort spent making sure government accounts are not being abused for money laundering purposes is too complicated and costly to justify keeping the accounts.

And it looks as if Angola is not the only one being hit. As many as 37 embassies in Washington could soon face similar action. Seventeen of those embassies are from African countries.

So why is this an important story? Why is it important to journalists and journalism organizations?

One simple word: Retaliation!

Already the Angolan government is showing its displeasure with the bank action by refusing to accept the credentials of the U.S. ambassador-designate to Angola. (The Angolan government says the U.S. government needs to do more to force the banks to accept their accounts.)

On the horizon, the governments could cancel permission of U.S. banks to operate in their countries. They could also freeze or cancel the local banking accounts of companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron. This latter option is already being discussed in Angola.

The few U.S. news outlets that have international correspondents and bureaus, could find their overseas accounts frozen. This would lead to an inability to pay stringers, local staff, interpreters and — in general — local expenses.

In a larger view, a tidal wave of account closings could make it impossible to conduct simple business across borders. It could bring further economic woes to a global economy just now coming out of the 2008 crash.

Looking at who has carried the story, it seems that after the Wall Street Journal reported it,  picked up the Reuters‘ feed, all the local Fox TV stations carried it — at least on their websites. Then Reuters picked it up. But as of early morning on Sunday, I was hard pressed to find many major news organizations in the States carrying the story.


Filed under International News Coverage, Story Ideas

2 responses to “Big story, Little coverage

  1. Pingback: Journalism and the World » Blog Archive » Missing a largepart of the story on diplomats and banking

  2. Pingback: Think retribution. U.S. banks stopping service to diplomats in USA | Journalism, Journalists and the World

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