Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

I am puzzled. What would prompt The Credit Union Times to publish an article spotlighting one person's political views on the “Occupy” movement, as well as their judgmental way of generalizing a certain group as being “spoiled, selfish, dopey, left-wing idiots?” Outside of an opinion column, how does such unsavory characterizations warrant news coverage? Come on, was it really that slow of a news day?

The truth is I am appalled to hear a credit union CEO speak so negatively and carelessly in the public forum. Yes, I'm speaking about a November 28th Credit Union Times article about Tina Mooney, CEO/manager at RAH Federal Credit Union.

If I lived in the community and heard Mooney, the CEO of my credit union, denigrate the neighborhoods in which I live, saying Randolph and Brockton are becoming less than desirable parts of Boston, I’d have to wonder what gives. Is this an appropriate statement for a credit union CEO to make in a public forum or is she planning to run for office? After hearing how readily she spoke of the neighborhoods and those participating in the Occupy movement, I prefer to think she may have become so negative about everything around her that it’s beginning to cloud her better judgment.

Yes, I am appalled because after all, what is a credit union and what is its role in the community? Is it not a financial cooperative organized around a set of operational principles and values? And, who owns that cooperative? And, what should one expect from a credit union CEO, one who is the public face, the public brand of those cooperative principles and values?

Let’s also not forget what should be expected from a trade news publication that’s governed as well by journalistic principles.

Still, I find it difficult to understand why Mooney would go on record about the Occupy movement about which she readily confesses little knowledge, and say, “If they want to protest the state of the country right now, why don’t they protest the White House or [Mass. Rep.] Barney Frank’s house, as his housing crisis was brought on [by] Democratic policies run amuck.” OK, let me guess which side of the aisle Mooney sits.

Has the CU Times now become the new tabloid for such partisan diatribes? While Mooney is certainly free to express her opinion, she, as CEO, is also a public person, a public representative of the credit union system. Expressing her partisan opinions and characterizations of those engaged in the Occupy movement (whether we agree with Occupy or not) so pointedly in a public forum (CU Times articles are available to all throughout the world by search engines) can mislead anyone into thinking that Mooney’s mindset is representative of the movement.

In today's world, when such uninformed opinions are coupled with partisan extremism and bickering, we will only see a further alienation of one group of Americans from another. Is this what credit unions really represent?

In the Year of Cooperatives, we should tolerate nothing less than a commanding spirit of integrity and inspiration from those holding the sacred reigns of America’s credit unions, and let’s not forget, the wisdom to know when some things are better left unsaid.


  1. I agree with you, Walt, I could not believe it when I read this article. I am proud to work at a credit union, and could never imagine my CEO putting the CU movement and our CU specifically in that situation. Mooney's opinions will be taken to be the official position of her CU. I don't see a retraction on the RAH FCU website. I would be humiliated to be an employee of RAH. The Board should remove her immediately.

    Peggy C., Virginia

  2. Peggy and Walt, I hear your concerns about RAH FCU CEO's comments and journalistic integrity. The reason we decided to publish this piece was because we ran several articles making nice with Occupy and felt reporting on someone with the opposite point of view helped balance our overall coverage. To your point, Walt, Occupy itself is very partisan and this CEO's point of view is too-just the other side of the norm. I think your 'tabloid' accusation is yours to have even if I don't agree. That's democracy. Respectfully always, Sarah

  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy?newsfeed=true

  4. Sarah- Why is it that the CU Times filters their comments so that only right wing extremist points of views are heard?

    I have tried to leave heartfelt, intelligent comments several times on CU Times, and they are never approved. Is the CU Times an extremist right-wing organization?

  5. We filter our comments for cussing, personal attacks and spam. I always err on the side of approving comments and if you search "Occupy" on our site you'll find positive and negative coverage and comments on both sides responding to it.