Your Arch Nemesis? The Banks.

Via the <a href="http://www.facebook.com/album.php?profile=1&id=84763399274#!/LendingTree">LendingTree Facebook page</a>.

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According to a new ad campaign from LendingTree, there is a villain among us—the very banks and credit agencies it works with. But, there is someone to restore justice: You.

The video below is part of a larger “You to the Rescue” campaign highlighting the “LendingTree utility belt,” which provides “objective tools to assess your loans and personal budget.”

The ad features two men in dress shirts and ties getting ready for work. Their reflections portray them as latex-clad, masked superheroes who will take on the “corporate mischief makers” and “men of ill repute who created a downturn of diabolical proportions.”

A third ad features Adam West, television’s original caped crusader, in an Alfred/Q role (he also does the voice overs for the other two). As those familiar with the superhero genre will note, Batman is one of the few superheroes who fight crime without the help of superpowers. Instead, Batman relies on technology (in the form of a utility belt) and a regular workout routine—oh, and a small inherited fortune.

Don’t forget that Batman is the alter ego of Bruce Wayne, a business tycoon. LendingTree didn’t; these ads aren’t directed at your regular Joe. They’re aimed at angry middle-class men (there are no women financial superheroes pictured) willing to educate themselves on the ins and outs of mortgage and credit.

As David Corn pointed out in our January/February issue, the campaign is targeting the somewhat misplaced fear and anger of the American populace. We are angry at people who took out more credit than they could afford, angry at the banks who pushed them into it, and angry at ourselves for not being smarter and more aware of what was going on. And the policies that allowed Wall Street the free reign to create this mess in the first place? Have we gotten smarter about those yet?

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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