CNN’s “overwhelming” Obama bias

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS & NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

 

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS &
NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

     The two mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — seized by the government September 7 before they went completely bankrupt, at a potential cost to taxpayers of more than $25 billion — have been in obvious trouble for much of the past five years — with criminal investigations, accounting scandals, firings, resignations, huge losses and warnings from the Federal Reserve that their huge portfolio of mortgage securities posed a risk to the overall financial system.

     But prior to this year, the watchdogs at ABC, CBS and NBC found time for only 10 stories on the financial health and management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A review of the three networks’ morning and evening news programs from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007 found nine anchor-read items or brief references to the companies troubles, plus one in-depth report by CBS’s Anthony Mason on the May 23, 2006 Evening News, after Fannie Mae was fined $400 million for accounting fraud.

     [This item, by the MRC’s Rich Noyes, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC’s blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     It’s not that the networks eschew business news. A 2005 report from the MRC’s Business and Media Institute found heavy coverage of the scandal surrounding Enron, but no interest in the growing scandal surrounding Fannie Mae: “A LexisNexis search of ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN on the term ‘Enron’ from the nine months around when the story first broke — Oct. 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, produced 3,017 hits….A similar LexisNexis search was performed for the term ‘Fannie Mae’ for those same media, from June 1, 2004, to March 1, 2005, again during the time the story was breaking. This search discovered a paltry 37 matches.” See: www.businessandmedia.org

     But the networks should (presumably) be more interested in monitoring these mortgage behemoths, since they’re not normal private companies but rather Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) chartered by Congress to promote the specific cause of promoting home ownership. This special status, along with the presumption that taxpayers would bail out the firms if they got into trouble, amounts to an implicit federal subsidy that the Federal Reserve in 2003 calculated was worth between $119 and $164 billion a year.

     Writing in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Charles Calomiris and Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute explained how these two GSEs — plus members of Congress who refused to hold them accountable — are “largely to blame for our current mess.” An excerpt:

Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — and their sponsors in Washington — are largely to blame for our current mess.

How did we get here? Let’s review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of “affordable housing.” They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse….

In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a strong reform bill, introduced by Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Chuck Hagel, and supported by then chairman Richard Shelby. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator prudential authority (such as setting capital requirements) roughly equivalent to a bank regulator. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. Mr. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Mr. Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent.

Now the Democrats are blaming the financial crisis on “deregulation.” This is a canard. There has indeed been deregulation in our economy — in long-distance telephone rates, airline fares, securities brokerage and trucking, to name just a few — and this has produced much innovation and lower consumer prices….

If the Democrats had let the 2005 legislation come to a vote, the huge growth in the subprime and Alt-A loan portfolios of Fannie and Freddie could not have occurred, and the scale of the financial meltdown would have been substantially less. The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it.

    

The peasants are revolting

The peasants are revolting

Rosslyn Smith

The national press corps is beginning to get a taste of the anger they have created among a large percentage of the American public over their treatment of Sarah Palin. It will take some longer than others to grasp the magnitude of the disaster they have created for their failing industry.

 

Joe Curl of the Washington Times reports  that angry crowds vigorously booed the media in Cedarbug, WI:

 

Hundreds of angry people in this small town outside Milwaukee taunted reporters and TV crews traveling with Sen. John McCain on Friday, chanting “Be fair!” and pointing fingers at a pack of journalists as they booed loudly.

 

Baltimore Sun columnist Susan Reimer is not happy at the amount of attention her incredibly snide, error filled September 1 column A woman – but why this woman? has garnered.
A handful of people wrote to say that I had captured exactly their reaction to the Palin nomination. But the rest of the responses were vehement or venomous… And more than 316,000 people viewed the column on The Baltimore Sun Web site. That number — more than 100 times the attention I normally receive — actually frightened me.

 

Newsbusters‘ Warner Todd Huston notes

 

She was “actually frightened,” you people! Give me a break. What? Is she crying? There’s no crying in journalism.

 

He then dissects Reimer’s original bit of feminist snark before taking her and her colleagues to task over the clueless bubble they seem to occupy.  

 

To close my discussion with you, Reimer, I have to ask: don’t you see the hatred that you expressed for this woman? Don’t you see that your snide comments about her Down Syndrome child and your abhorrence with every American that votes Republican — which is half the electorate, by the way — just might raise a bit of ire out there? Can you really be so shocked that your spittle specked rage was met with a bit of resistance?
If not, well, you really aren’t as smart as you might like to imagine.

 

It may still be uncertain who will win this campaign, but it is clear who already has lost: the legacy media.

Negative U.S. media linked to increased insurgent attacks

What Conservative Media?

What Conservative Media?

By Ari Kaufman

Despite decades of evidence from Walter Cronkite’s offense at Tet and “Bush lied about WMDs” to the contrary, today’s liberal is fond of claiming there is not only zero lefty bias in today’s mainstream media, but often a conservative bias.

The Nation’s resident leftist provocateur, Eric Alterman, most recently contended so last Fall, after he became enraged by the “lies in ABC’s mini-series Path to 9/11” (the one the Clinton’s had changed in a remarkable cover up). Others look to their perception of the media’s “build up of the Iraq War” in 2003, or the Downing Street Memo that a professor in Florida once told me he “writes to the Times (NY, of course) daily imploring them to publicize it more” and many others.
But, naturally, facts tell a different story, as evidence amounting to a left-leaning bias in the mainstream media is as deep as the Marianas Trench.
Led by their long time hero, Chris Matthews, today’s media will mention any minor scandal from Scooter Libby to Tom Delay in order to market their erroneous claims, despite nearly a century of history showing the dangers in losing focus of the America’s true enemies.
If you watched the deplorably irresponsible journalism the host of Hardball displayed at the first GOP debate, or his racial dividing remarks prior to the Democrat debate on April 26, it is obvious his bias as thick as a humanities professor’s at an “elite” northeastern liberal arts college. Yet, the Democrats’ refusal to have Fox News’ Chris Wallace and Brit Hume moderate their debate was scarcely mentioned nationally? Too bad, as honest analysts noted Brit and Chris W. were “fair and balanced” as can be last week.
The next argument would state that talk radio and internet blogs are dominated by right-leaning folks. Well, that is true. But a closer examination makes clear why. Air America Radio and left-leaning blogs like the Huffington Post and Daily Kos continuously fail or significantly lag behind their competitors due to lack of listeners and readers. There are two overarching reasons for this:
Firstly, the writers, especially on Kos, cannot write. Seriously. It reminds me very eerily of rants of drunk collegians bashing Bush, our soldiers, Christians, anyone but the enemy, etc. Perhaps this toilet humor occurs because the “grassroots” lefty blogs are in fact run by college kids, often left with a lack of facts to support their views. If military history is tragically being retired on campuses, where will bloggers go for proper history? The “Peace Studies” Department?
People, regardless of their political persuasions, are not interested in reading such naive commentary. Kos and Huffington, who rarely pen anything of their own, might also think that having guest writers (often Democrat politicians or celebrities like Laurie David, Bill Maher, Jim Lampley and Harry Shearer) throw out their conjectures makes a blog. This has never been true. The most successful blogs—conservative ones like Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs–have no editorialists, but rather are created via links, text, photos and an occasional salient editorial comment at the end or onset, often just a line or two.
Secondly, in a classroom, the NY Times newsroom or in the studios of CNN, CBS or Comedy Central, you need not back up your partisan stances. Make your case to nodding heads, type it up and go to lunch. But live on radio, Rush Limbaugh must back up his claims. Blogs must often do the same in their comment section or with the links to facts.
Truth be told, I’m not really concerned with the Washington Post or SF Chronicle’s editorial pages being chock full of leftists; that’s just the way it is and always will be. But it’s the news stories where the subtle bias is real and disingenuous, since most folks admittedly only glance at the headline and first few lines of a “news” story on their way into work.
My neighbor just canceled her subscription to the Indianapolis Star for those exact reasons. She, a customer for more than three decades, had finally had enough. And though I put the nail in the coffin for her when a recent “news” piece included a Bush-bashing quote from a Chicago-based dental professor with zero relation to the topic {mid-way through linked article}, she had been itching for the time to cancel for a few years now.
When she emailed the paper’s ombudsman, he was concerned and informed her that the Star “does carry “conservatives” like Cal Thomas and George Will.” He missed the point, naturally. Seems too many liberal media members do this everyday.
Ari Kaufman is the author of Reclamation: Saving our schools starts from within He is currently a military historian for the State of Indiana’s War Memorials

Media Target: The US Military

Media Target: The US Military

By Gerd Schroeder

The US military, the last bastion of creditability in the war, is now the primary target of the media and the enemies of the war.  Almost like a plan. Not hatched as a coherent and complete arrangement in some dark, smoke filled room. No conspiracy is alleged. Rather, There is a certain momentum that is a product of groupthink. This confluence of widely-shared perceptions and attitudes has taken on a life of its own, the like-minded feeding off the ideas of others, then amplified in the media.
They smell blood in the water, and turn their attention to the military.  Their reasoning is that if they can turn the American People against the military, then the war effort will become unsustainable.  But they must be very careful in manipulating the story.  They have learned their lesson from Viet Nam.  The backlash from attacking the troops directly robbed them of much of their credibility.  They will not make that mistake again. 
Seize on critics from within
This time the plan is discredit the military from the inside.  They do this by seizing on genuine critics, disgruntled retirees, infighting dissidents, and a few dupes and naive people in the military to discredit the organization as a whole.  This is where we are right now.        
After writing an article in the Armed Forces Journal titled A failure in generalship  lambasting the general officer corps for not only failing in Iraq but lying to Congress and the American People many people may think that the author, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yinling is on the highway to hell with his carrier in the military.  If you figured that, I believe that you have figured wrong.  It is rooted in popular miss conceptions about what the military is like from an outsider’s point of view, which has been carefully built and manipulated by pop culture and the media for years. 
That is not to say that I agree with LTC Yinling.  I think that many of his arguments are, quite frankly, bull; but the military is really a very introspective organization.  Anyone that has seen an After Action Review of a military operation or training event understands that.  They are brutally honest and open.  No one is spared.  We all understand that respecting thin skins is a recipe for death.  The reviews are not personal attacks; they are honest assessments.
LTC Yingling’s arguments are not new. The points in his article have been debated in the Army for many years.  It is not a bombshell indictment of the military leaders the media is making it out to be.  He used Clausewitz, and other military thinker’s writings and ideas to make his point.  Look at the article Toxic Leadership, by Colonel George E Reed.  The article, written in 2004, takes on many of the same points that LTC Yingling’s article does, albeit in a more tactful manner. 
For me, the article is very stimulating, though very flawed.  Through articles like LTC Yingling’s Col. Reed’s the military stays vital and improves thought debate and exchange of ideas.
Instead, let us look at why the media has suddenly picked this story up after it has been debated in the military for years.  The media are all in a flutter because they think that they can spin this article as an indictment of the war.  They do this by pointing at the generals, and in a sly, almost unperceivable way, the media almost seem to whisper in our ears: “see, the military is bad, they aren’t worthy of our support, they failed, we can’t trust them, we need to get out of Iraq before anyone else dies because of these fascist brutes.”  Some few have come right out and said it, but most just allude to it. 
The military’s image
The military image for many people is of an environment with no freethinking, and creativity.  The image is one of an organization of mindless, strict adherence to illogical and outdated thinking and morals.  One of heavy-handed, overbearing, egotistical Neanderthals bent on world domination, violence, and hate. Backwoods rednecks.  Unintelligent dead-enders.  Look at movies like A Few Good Men, Stripes, Platoon, and Apocalypse Now.  This is the image propagated by the pop culture. 
You may say: “that may be true for some, but not for me.”  I ask you then to think back to when you considered the military.  Most men and a few women do this at some point.  For some it is just fleeting.  For others they study it deeply, but I think most, if not all, men at some point or another have considered joining the military.  Why do so few out of so many in this country actually serve?  Is it because of the ideas that have been formed from our experiences with American pop culture? 
A high percentage of the serving military has a close family member that served or is serving.  It is a generational tradition of pride, and a feeling of duty.  That is not to say that those that don’t serve are any less of a person for taking a different path; clearly not everyone can serve even if they wanted to.  However; if you reflect on it you will find than many of your ideas about the military that are unflattering have probably come from pop culture and the media.  The enemies of the war in the media use the pop culture’s long cultivated prejudice of the military to forward their objective against the war.   
Over the last year, maybe two, it is increasingly difficult to find not any positive reporting on Iraq and the larger war on terrorism, or any positive stories of the US Military at large.  There are some rare exceptions with some local news outlets.  Google “Iraq” it and see for yourself.  It is even more pervasive in the international media.
More examples
Look at the resurrection of the Jessica Lynch, and the Spencer Tillman stories as show trails against of the military in Henry Waxman’s House Committee last week.  The message: ‘The military lied,  The generals ordered the lies.  This in turn promotes the thought: ‘The military is bad.’ 
There is not need to rehash the continuing assaults by the press and the pentagon officials that leak politically motivated falsehoods about the Marines in Haditha.  John Kerry, and John Martha’s attacks on the military are like a drum beat. 
How about retired generals like MG Batiste, used willingly, in mock impeachment trails by Democrats; or BG Janis Karpinski, used by the press as a martyr, sacrificed by the military for Abu Grab, testifying to hostile governments about the evil US military.
Refer back to the countless stories about Guantanamo Bay, and false accusations of torture; many in the media choosing to believe accusations of known terrorists over the military, and false stories of Koran desecration causing riots across the Islam World. 
Look at the personal attacks on the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Pace, because he dared voice an opinion on homosexuals.  They implied that the general was unfit because he dared have a personal moral judgment; or attacks by retired Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General (Retired) Shalikashvili, on the military’s policy of the so-called ‘Don’t ask don’t tell policy’ of which he oversaw the implementation.  
Now the latest insult by Senator Reid (D-NV) that the war is lost and General Petraeus is lying if he says the surge is working. 
The press is conducting an information war against the military to discredit it, and by so doing hopes to collapse the remaining support for “Bush’s War”.
All reasonable people understand the absolute critical need to win the war in Iraq.  It is helpful, desirable, and needed to debate in good faith as long as the joint objective is winning in Iraq.  Without a doubt, the key to winning this war is the will of the American People to continue supporting the fight.  Each downtick in the polls for support of the war by the American People lowers the possibility that the military will be able to carry on the war to a victory. 
It is not that we lack the capacity.  We, in the military, have the will in spades.  But we are, in the end, the Military of the American People, and must have their support; not only to fund the war, but also to maintain morale and a strong fighting spirit.  This support of the US Military by the American People is the goal that most in the mainstream media hope to undermine.  Why they would do this is a topic for a different article.  The fact is that they are actively trying to discredit the US Military.     

A final question for the media

What would happen in the war in Iraq and to the terrorists across the world if our press put as much effort into supporting the war that they do in trying to sabotage it?             
Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the United States Army; he has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  His personal views do not represent the views of the US Army or Department of Defense

Media Lynch Mob

Media Lynch Mob

By Ray Robison

Jessica Lynch was on Capitol Hill to talk about her experience in Iraq as a POW and subsequently as a media darling. This article from the Charleston Daily Mail typifies the coverage given to this topic by the media for years now. It portrays Lynch as a victim of military propaganda that pushed her forward as a hero.
The recent hearing was to cover Lynch’s 2003 kidnapping and rescue in Iraq, which the Department of Defense painted as a story of heroism, despite a differing account from Lynch.
There are two facts that get left out of this type of reporting:

a) Jessica Lynch is a hero just by serving her country whether she fired a shot or was knocked out immediately during the ambush that injured her severely and

b) the story of her shoot-out with Iraqi forces was not a product of the US military but of the US media.

The US media created this recounting of her exploits from vague, unofficial statements by “undisclosed officials” and having been revealed as rumor mongers started looking for someone to blame. Who else would they pin it on but the US military?
We all know it is hard to prove a negative, in this case that the US military did not create the shoot-out scenario reported by the media. So we have to instead ask questions. If the US military did so, who specifically did it? Do we have a name in all this media hype about the misleading Pentagon reporting? Where was the claim first made? Who was the source?
This USA Today article from July of 2003 is a hint. It states:

Lynch had been mythicized during the war. An initial report in The Washington Post said Lynch had killed several Iraqis. Later, government officials said she had killed no one.

The fact is it wasn’t “later” that the government warned against this fight-to-the-death story line, it was at the time of the initial reporting by the media. And as the USA Today article has correctly identified, The Washington Post did run the story first:

‘She Was Fighting to the Death’
Details Emerging of W. Va. Soldier’s Capture and Rescue
By Susan Schmidt and Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 3, 2003; Page A01
Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army’s 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said yesterday.
Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said. The ambush took place after a 507th convoy, supporting the advancing 3rd Infantry Division, took a wrong turn near the southern city of Nasiriyah.
“She was fighting to the death,” the official said. “She did not want to be taken alive.” Lynch was also stabbed when Iraqi forces closed in on her position, the official said, noting that initial intelligence reports indicated that she had been stabbed to death. No official gave any indication yesterday, however, that Lynch’s wounds had been life-threatening
Several officials cautioned that the precise sequence of events is still being determined, and that further information will emerge as Lynch is debriefed. Reports thus far are based on battlefield intelligence, they said, which comes from monitored communications and from Iraqi sources in Nasiriyah whose reliability has yet to be assessed. Pentagon officials said they had heard “rumors” of Lynch’s heroics but had no confirmation. [emphasis added]

So let’s get this straight, The Washington Post single-sourced this story from one official that they couldn’t even identify. Ask yourself why they couldn’t identify a military official praising a soldier. Is that really a secret? This isn’t a whistle blower or Bush Administration insider. It would more than likely be an officer or NCO at the tactical operations center if this person existed.
So why couldn’t The Washington Post name the source? The answer is obvious; because the reporters don’t even know who it was, or if the incident even occurred. It sounds very much like one person’s ruminations in passing, chatting about rumors from unofficial sources. Then The Washington Post ran with the information despite army officials warning them about the veracity of such rumors. And this is the military’s fault? Are you kidding me?
Isn’t the media supposed to be superior to citizen journalists because of all the editorial safeguards and fact checking? But yet in this reporting, one unidentified source who may indeed be a fiction – a literary device to whom to attribute overheard conversation – trumped the military spokesperson. I challenge The Washington Post to identify this source so that this person can be questioned in the current proceedings.

Ray Robison is co-author of the book Both in One Trench, a blogger, and a frequent contributor to American Thinker.

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