Episode 48: Underexposed

In the forty-eighth episode of The Latest, we picture the developing Kodak insider trading scandal. Former Marine Michael Nordman joins the program for this week’s O.J. Simpson Twitter Update.

Episode 48: Underexposed
Season 2

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Those voices are discussing The Eastman Kodak Company, a well-known American icon that, like James Cameron, continues producing films that nobody wants or needs anymore.

After a surprise government deal sent the 131-year-old company’s stock surging more than 1,000% last week, it brought to light an age-old maxim: if a picture’s worth a thousand words, insider trading is slightly more valuable.

For the better part of a century, Kodak was one of the nation’s leading companies, whose photography products allowed astronauts to capture powerful images from space, dissidents to document atrocities at Tieneman Square, and drunk relatives to waste 27 disposable shots at your cousin’s disposable wedding reception. 

But after digital photography took off, Kodak wasn’t able to recognize that times had changed and struggled to adapt, like that aging single Gen X-er who hasn’t quite figured out that Star Wars is for children.

After filing for bankruptcy in 2012, Kodak sold off many of its patents and began pursuing new business strategies, like licensing smartphones, reproducing ancient film formats, and pretty much anything else that could take your mind off of the fact that their spokesperson was Bill Cosby.

Last week, it was announced that the company would receive a $765 million dollar loan to help it pivot towards manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients to protect against the coronavirus, turning that time you were placed on a ventilator because your kid was forced to go back to school and ended up catching the virus from the son of a man who thinks that wearing a mask makes you a liberal puppet controlled by George Soros, besides, the virus isn’t real anyway, and what’s Ghislaine Maxwell done that’s so wrong, anyway, into a real Kodak moment.

The agreement reached by the Trump administration was immediately called into question after Kodak’s stock price rocketed from 2 to $60 a share — a pathetic McDouble suddenly became an impressive Ruth’s Chris Steak House 40 Oz porterhouse for two, a scenario more perplexing than the name “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.”

That’s because just one day before the announcement was made public and caused the company’s stock to explode like flash powder,  Kodak’s executive chairman was granted 1.75 million shares of Kodak stock in what the company described as a simple “understanding” — as in, I understand that I’ll be making a lot of money. 

While Democrats have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate this case of potential insider trading, this isn’t the only major instance of well-connected individuals seemingly profiting from the pandemic, like how your bodega suddenly realized they forgot to mark up the price of the hand sanitizer in March that they’d already marked up in January.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, for instance, remains under investigation for selling nearly $2 million worth of stock in hotels, restaurants, and shipping companies, after he received closed-door briefings on the coronavirus in February, which must have helped him prepare his constituents into making the ultimate national sacrifice in order to protect his diversified portfolio. 

Republicans Kelly Loeffler and James Inhofe, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, were also probed for making similar moves, but even though the 2012 Stock Act was passed in order to forbid congresspeople from profiting off of private information gained from being in Congress, they’re simply a set of ethics rules that a fine. As in, you want to make a bunch of money because a disease killed the guy who owned your duty cleaner? That’s fine. 

As pointed out in Popular Information, this loan given to Kodak is paid for by taxpayers in an effort to control the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s pretty sketchy to use this opportunity to turn your dead business into a personal goldmine — you never heard of people buying up old Blockbuster Video locations so they could install glory holes in the DVD racks, because it’s disgusting, and nobody would put up with the late fees or membership charges.

Yeah, I know, CEOs and stockholders rip people off, breaking news — but corruption has become so institutionalized in the United States, things like these barely register as a blip on the radar — it’s just another negative thrown onto the pile.

When Kodak goes bankrupt again in 2120 because the earth’s boiled up all of the hydro once used to produce hydroxychloroquine, I hope President Barron Trump Jr. will take a slight pause before giving this dead company another billion dollars to help save the people he started killing in the first place.