30 October 2008

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

Please read this column by Orson Scott Card, a Democrat and a journalist.
What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor, which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house, along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.
Well, heck. That sounds like a bad idea. If I were a person of integrity, I'd probably try to stop such a plan.
Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans...
Wait. What?
Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Sen. Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.
Where's the outrage? If this were Sen. John McCain, there'd be hell to pay, wouldn't there?
As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" (http://snipurl.com/457to): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?
If you're not angry now, you should see what else has gone on. As Mr. Card points out, following the money presented some very uncomfortable facts for a pro-Obama press. The solution? Just ignore it.
But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie - that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad - even bad weather - on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth - even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.
Card calls the media to task, and he's none too kind about it:
So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women (NOW) threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.
But he's not just being critical - he's offering solutions:
It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.
I'm not a betting man, but I will bet that we won't see this happen.

But we will see the consequences of it not happening.

Read the whole thing.
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