CBS's Foreclosure 'Crisis' Hype: 'American Dream Slipping Away'

Delivering a ridiculous level of vacuous hyperbole, Thursday's CBS Evening News greeted reports of a 0.83 percent 4th quarter foreclosure rate with just under 6 percent of mortgages more than a month past due as proof “the American dream” is “slipping away” since “foreclosures are spreading like cancer.” Those may indeed be unusually high levels, but the American dream is hardly “slipping away” when 99.17 percent are not in foreclosure and 94.18 percent are paying on time or nearly on time.

Anchor Katie Couric at the top of the March 6 CBS Evening News, with "Foreclosure Crisis" on screen:
Good evening, everyone. It's one of the worst things that can happen to a family, but it's happening to more and more in this country. They're losing their homes to foreclosure. The mortgage industry reported today that the foreclosure rate in the final quarter of 2007 hit an all-time high [0.83%]. And the government says, that for the first time ever, lenders own a greater percentage of the average home than the homeowner does. Anthony Mason now on the American dream that's slipping away.
Mason began his lead story:
From the Bronx to Boston to St. Paul -- foreclosures are spreading like cancer. In Minnesota, legislators aren't waiting for outside help. They've introduced legislation to require lenders to defer foreclosures on sub-prime loans for a year...Across the country, the delinquency rate for all mortgages -- those are payments more than a month past due -- has soared to nearly 6 percent [5.82%], the worst since 1985....
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center