Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Best Laid Plans . . .

I had planned to write a scathing post firing the MSM due to the total abdication of their mission by so many mainstream journalists. Not surprisingly I'm not the only one bemoaning the lack of honesty and professionalism of the current crop of newsfolk. So rather than write, I'm going to link to others who have already written what I was planning on writing for the past two weeks. These links are much better written than what I would have turned out anyway. You would think that some of them are professional writers.

Victor Davis Hanson writes about the end of journalism.
There have always been media biases and prejudices. Everyone knew that Walter Cronkite, from his gilded throne at CBS news, helped to alter the course of the Vietnam War, when, in the post-Tet depression, he prematurely declared the war unwinnible. Dan Rather’s career imploded when he knowingly promulgated a forged document that impugned the service record of George W. Bush. We’ve known for a long time — from various polling, and records of political donations of journalists themselves, as well as surveys of public perceptions — that the vast majority of journalists identify themselves as Democratic, and liberal in particular.

Yet we have never quite seen anything like the current media infatuation with Barack Obama, and its collective desire not to raise key issues of concern to the American people. Here were four areas of national interest that were largely ignored.
Diana West points out some of the episodes of media failure to inform.
Despite the disgrace of our free-but-self-caged press, many voters have managed to learn for themselves that Obama has spent a lifetime associating with the kind of anti-Americans and subversives that, by rights, make him ineligible for a federal security clearance — something Daniel Pipes has noted. Many voters understand that when you "spread the wealth around" you are enacting a basic premise of Marxism, or communism, or socialism, or something once upon a time derided as plain old commie-pinko. But that was a long time ago, and the fact is, we just don't know how many Americans are still put off, if not outraged, by such things.


And maybe this becomes the most important question to be settled on Nov. 4: How many Americans still consider mixing with and supporting bomb-throwers and radicals to be un-presidential? How many Americans still consider a Marxist basis for economics to be, in fact, downright un-American?
The most forceful piece is by Orson Scott Card. He calls it, "Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?" You should read all of these in their entirety, but if you can read only one, read this one.
An open letter to the local daily paper -- almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

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.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

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 benefitting 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 Senator 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.
On the other hand, this did save me a lot of writing.

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3 Comments:

At 2:34 AM, Blogger MightyMom said...

great stuff!!!

glad to see you posting again....

 
At 7:09 AM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

We have witnessed the death of true unbiased journalism. Thank goodness we have the blogs!!!

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Mrs. C said...

I feel this way about affirmative action in colleges. I've seen students taken in that NO WAY are ready for the challenges. Then they leave with broken dreams. Some of them leave with loans to repay, too.

 

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