Everyone’s buzzing about the first two parts of the Frontline documentary “Money, Power & Wall Street” that aired on PBS last night. The piece looks on the cause and effects of the 2008 financial crisis, including an in-depth look at just what happened at the height of crisis in 2008.
But there was one big omission from the documentary that got people talking. It was the fact that negotiations with Barclays to buy—and save—Lehman Brothers fell apart before Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. Instead, the documentary framed the situation as then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson letting Lehman go bankrupt with the belief that markets would “take care of themselves.”
In fact, when Lehman was on the verge of collapse, Barclays came very close to purchasing the company. But the deal was essentially blocked by Britain’s Financial Services Authority and other British politicians.
There was even a famous exchange between then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and Paulson, where Darling told Paulson “We will not import your cancer.” The conversation has been covered in numerous books and articles on the financial crisis. (Darling later denied saying that to Paulson)
Here were some of the Twitter reactions to the Barclays omission—
(Former Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee was featured in the documentary.)