Networks Trumpet Barney Frank’s Legacy, Ignore Role in Housing Crisis

“The first line in Barney Frank’s political epitaph,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes predicted on Monday’s FNC Special Report upon news the longtime liberal Democratic Congressman won’t seek re-election, will “be the housing crisis.” But that isn’t what those who decide the first draft of history considered relevant.

ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as they instead touted him as “one of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill” (ABC), as “the Congressman who co-authored the overhaul of financial regulations after the crash” (CBS) and all noted his sexual orientation. NBC’s Brian Williams: “Among his legacies – besides his legendary sharp tongue – he was the first Member of Congress to publically acknowledge he was gay back in 1987.”

Only Williams described him as a liberal.

From ABC’s World News, November 28:

DIANE SAWYER: One of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill is calling it quits. Barney Frank, who has served in the House of Representatives for 30 years, announced today that he will retire at the end of his term in 2012 saying he's had enough, especially of raising money.

BARNEY FRANK: One of the advantages to me of not running for office is I don't even have to pretend to be nice to people I don't like.

SAWYER: Frank, who is 71, faced redistricting in his home turf. And the powerful Congressman, also of course, made history as one of the first openly gay Members of Congress.

CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: The Congressman who co-authored the overhaul of financial regulations after the crash said today that he won’t run for re-election. Barney Frank, the outspoken Democrat from Massachusetts, has served 16 terms. But he faced a tough re-election battle in a district that was redrawn. Frank was the first openly gay Member of Congress.

NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: One of the best known names in the House of Representatives is leaving. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, a liberal Member of the House since he was first elected back in 1980. He announced today he will not stand for re-election. Over the years he's become a big target for Republicans. Could very well have faced a very tough challenge had he chosen to run again. Redistricting has changed his long-time constituency. He never did suffer fools gladly or a whole lot of other people for that matter, which he more or less admitted today. Among his legacies – besides his legendary sharp tongue – he was the first Member of Congress to publically acknowledge he was gay back in 1987.

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