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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NPR Does a He Said/She Said on Debit Card Swipe Fees

NPR Does a He Said/She Said on Debit Card Swipe Fees

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 04:34

NPR did a classic he said/she said piece on the battle over debit card swipe fees. It gave people the line from the banks about how they will have to cut back on services to customers if fees are reduced. It also presented the line from retailers on how most of the savings will be passed on to consumers. It presented no independent analysis. (It is likely that most of the $12 billion in savings will be passed on to consumers.) This would have been useful since most listeners do not have more time to evaluate this issue than NPR's reporters.

Comments (7)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, May 10, 2011 6:33
It gave people the line from the banks about how they will have to cut back on services to customers if fees are reduced.

NPR also reported in a special program on opportunity cost and zero sum trade offs that when people eat they were forced to cut back on what they didn't eat.
written by gnat, May 10, 2011 8:05
NPT's Judy Woodruff did a similar piece on the issue without any understanding of the issue. The problem is the consumer chooses the credit card company which can levy a fee on the retailer. The retailer can not accept a particular credit card but would that would make it less competitive for the consumers business. It is analogous cell phone service that is subscribed to by a consumer but levy a charge to the called party. Both have a terminating monopoly.
I just find it absolutely hilarious
written by Bill H, May 10, 2011 10:05
That you think merchants are going to drop prices to pass "most of the $12 billion in savings" on to the consumer, when market forces have not only prevented them from raising prices for the past two years, but have been driving their prices downward.
written by John McCarthy, May 10, 2011 10:27
Quite a bit of US Media, including NPR, have been criticized for their "he said, she said" reporting for a while now. Surely they understand that their listeners / readers do not have as much time to evaluate these issues as do NPR's reporters. So why do they continue in this way? Is there some argument they typically advance to explain why they report competing arguments without evaluating their validity?
He Said She Said Reporting
written by Jeff Z, May 10, 2011 10:58
Quite simply they do not want to be accused of 'editorializing' in the news.

A shame that evaluation has taken on shades of 'ideological bias.'

Newspapers and other outlets are businesses, and they can not afford to alienate their customers. If they do, they can not suckle at the teat that is the stream of ad revenue. In NPR's case, it is competitive pressure from commercial outlets and pressure from big donors.
What services?!
written by Hugh Sansom, May 10, 2011 1:32
The banking industry says it would have to cut back on services? What services? They charge through the nose for everything. What services they do offer are garbage. What could they cut back, even if they wanted to?
written by urban legend, May 10, 2011 6:00
Bill H: Would you run that by us one more time? As it is, it makes no sense.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.