Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I wonder if Richard Cohen's gonna put some ice on that?


B just sent this letter to the Editor of the Washington Post (hint: it ain't ever gonna see newsprint).

Mr. Cohen,

I enjoyed your column in today's Washington Post  and was particularly taken by your statement that "[h]ard times are hard on truth."   By this measure, The Washington Post  must be enduring some very hard times indeed.

While the Post treats its readers to articles about an advisor for John McCain lobbying for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the paper makes no mention of the fact that Barack Obama received more money from lobbyists and employees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than any other member of Congress, except for Christopher Dodd. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/09/update-fannie-mae-and-freddie.html . And it took Senator Obama only three years to raise more money from these institutions that many of his colleagues were able to raise in ten years.

Similarly, the Post  (and most of its columnists) tell readers that the current financial debacle is the result of deregulation of the financial services market, suggesting that the problems we currently face are properly placed at the doorstep of President Bush and conservative philosophy.  But The Washington Post  fails to mention efforts by the Bush Administration to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  For example, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (S. 190), of which Senator McCain and three other Republicans were co-sponsors, would have regulated the secondary mortgages market and placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under tighter regulatory oversight.  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:1:./temp/~c1094zZ77z::  The bill went nowhere.  It was reintroduced in 2007 (S. 1100) and referred to the Senate Banking Committee chaired by Senator Dodd. Again, the bill went nowhere.   Despite these and other well-intentioned efforts to address the current crisis before it actually became a crisis, The Washington Post  (and most of its columnists) apparently do not want to burden their readers with such facts.

Instead, readers of the Post are treated to a puff piece about Barney Frank, claiming that he is the "real deal" and that his "sense of urgency" in solving the current financial crisis is "palpable."  Libby Copeland, "Rep. Barney Frank Dives Right in on the Bailout," Washington Post  (Sept. 27, 2008).  Yet, the Post  makes no mention of Rep. Frank's persistent opposition to efforts to tighten regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would have avoided, or at least lessened the disaster that our economy is currently facing.  In fact, in 2003 during debate on H.R. 2575—THE SECONDARY MORTGAGE MARKET ENTERPRISES REGULATORY IMPROVEMENT ACT, which would have created a "strengthened regulator" for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this is what Rep. Frank had to say: "I think it is clear that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sufficiently secure so they are in no great danger... I don't think we face a crisis; I don't think that we have an impending disaster. ...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do very good work, and they are not endangering the fiscal health of this country."  http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/bank/hba92628.000/hba92628_0f.htm.  Obviously, Mr. Frank was wrong (as were other prominent Democrats leading the "financial recovery" effort, including Senator Dodd), but you wouldn't know that from reading The Washington Post .

People buy newspapers to get the truth, in both good times and bad.  When people can't get the truth, they look to other sources of information, which likely explains the continued decline in subscribership to The Washington Post

3 comments:

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Stephan White said...

When people can't get the truth, they look to other sources of information, which likely explains the continued decline in subscribership to The Washington Post.

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