It’s not every day you see a state attorney general hold a blank piece of white paper in front of his face during a nationally televised interview and tell the reporters they can cut off the interview if they don’t want to cover the story. But then again, Jerry Brown isn’t like most attorneys general, let alone most human beings.
Brown was asked to go on CNBC Tuesday to talk about the $200 million fraud case ($56 million plus penalties) his Department of Justice had just filed against State Street Bank, and the talking heads and headettes on the business news network got more than they bargained for.
In addition to giving State Street an opportunity to respond to the charges even before the charges were aired, the network embarrassed itself by trying to bitch-slap Brown. When Michelle Caruso-Cabrera put on a snarky, cynical, world-weary reporter act and accused Crusty of flogging the case for political gain, Brown didn’t hesitate a second, breaking the fourth wall and refusing to be caught by the convention of a live national interview.
“OK, first of all, if you don’t want the interview, shut it off,” Brown said, “It was your idea, so that’s pretty silly. You feed off this just like any other media outlet.” Moreover, he added — knocking Ms Caruso-Cabrera back on her heels — “It’s kind of symptomatic of the insensitivity and the arrogance of the Eastern financial elite that you would say, ‘Oh, $56 million, why don’t you suck it up and forget it?’”
Then, when nitwit Dennis Kneale — who appeared to be making snide asides while Brown was talking — asked Brown if the whistle-blower who brought the case to the AG’s office was paid to bring it, Brown took no prisoners:
“What are you guys doing? Are you pimping for the defendant in this case? I can’t believe it.”
This is what makes Jerry Brown one of the most compelling and interesting political figures in the country. He is totally unafraid to break through the bounds of convention, and won’t let himself get caught in a double bind. You gotta love it. Check it out for yourself: