The term “the alleged mastermind” has been used so frequently that is bears the mark of indictment. The term has invariably been applied to Muslim suspects and the use of violence against Western targets. The term has less frequently been used for convicted felons like Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers, Richard Scrushy or Jack Abramoff. By way of comparison, Ramzi Yousef, alleged mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing generates more than 60,000 hits on Google when linked to this term. None of the financial whiz-kids generate more than 1,000.
There is no doubt that red garners more attention than green. Still, it seems that a fair accounting of damage by these respective architects of mayhem suggests that more attention be paid to the white collar criminals. The American financial media have incestuous relationships with financial firms. The closeness of these relationships undermines the capacity of journalists to dig deep and reveal things that simply do not add up.
The liberties taken by men like Lay (and Fastow and Skiling), Ebbers, Scrushy and Abramoff were facilitated by oversights of perception and understanding. The costs of such oversight is considerable – and the next big scandal is just around the corner.