Today on CNN's American Morning, Cook County sheriff Tom Dart was interviewed by anchor John Roberts. Dart has announced his office will quit carrying out evictions stemming from mortgage foreclosures until lenders start exercising "due diligence." During the interview, Dart made the point that some evictions involve people who have not defaulted on their mortgages, but have simply been paying rent to landlords who did. Roberts's comments at the end of the interview are telling:
ROBERTS: So the Illinois Bankers Association is accusing you of "vigilantism" and, quote, "at the highest level of an elected official." What do you say to that?
DART: I think the outrage is on my part with them. That they would so cavalierly issue documents and have me throw people out of homes who have done absolutely nothing wrong. They played by all the rules. And because of their ignorance and their lack of diligence and going out to their own property and finding out who is out there, innocent people are being set out.
A single report by KFYI radio of Phoenix, Arizona highlights a shocking claim made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD says that five million illegal aliens hold illegal mortgages. This is just one more example of the lax lending laws put into place by Democrats like Barney Frank that have contributed to this economic crisis. One would think this would be big news. But, so far we have only this one report to cover it.
There have been earlier stories of home flipping schemes that made liberal use of illegal aliens as straw buyers and the FBI has followed numerous cases to prosecution and conviction. But the Old Media have not done much with this story.
All three morning shows on Wednesday skipped a startling claim by Senator Barack Obama during the previous night's presidential debate. During a discussion on spending, he bizarrely asserted, "Actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut." However, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, that statement doesn't even close to being true.
Their numbers show an increase in spending of $425 billion over four years of an Obama administration and only a decrease of $144 billion. And this is factoring in Obama's tax increases as a way of "saving" money. And yet, ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" all failed to report on the discrepancy or the math oddity of including more taxes as a cut. GMA reporter John Berman even filed a "fact check" segment on the debate, but ignored the Obama claim, which was picked up the AP.
Bob Bennett is a man of integrity, and the Democratic half of the political Bennett Brothers. He appeared last night on Mark Levin's nationally syndicated radio show to debunk the media myth built-up around Arizona Senator John McCain's role in the Keating Five mess circa the late 1980s and early 1990s.
(Brother Bill served as Secretary of President Ronald Reagan's Department of Education and Director of President George H.W. Bush's Office of National Drug Control Policy, and is now a nationally syndicated radio host in his own right, of "Bill Bennett's Morning in America.")
Bob Bennett is an attorney, and was at the time of the Keating Five scandal hired by the Senate Ethics Committee as Special Counsel to lead the investigation into what had happened. After over a year of exhaustive examination, Bennett recommended that Sen. McCain (and Sen. John Glenn of Ohio) be exonerated of all charges having to do with the Keating scandal. The ethics committee, which was majority Democratic, rejected Bennett's recommendation.
When Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld testified before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, the media criticized his wealth and spending amidst financial turmoil in his company and on Wall Street. But conspicuously missing was the story of Fuld's political contributions.
It's the kind of socialist attitude that would make Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez proud. Unfortunately, it's coming from a New York Times columnist making recommendations for the U.S. financial system.
"[W]hat we really need is we need, well capital that the banks - we need to put money into the system," Krugman said. "And in effect, what always happens in financial crises is a partial nationalization - partial and temporary nationalization of the financial system. And, that is - you know and, I predict with almost 100-percent confidence that's how it will end, but the [Henry] Paulson Treasury wasn't willing to talk about that."
The Media Research Center's Director of Communications and NewsBusters.org Contributing Editor Seton Motley appeared on Friday afternoon on the Fox News Channel's American Election HQ to discuss how Bill O'Reilly handled his interview of Rep. Barney Frank, as well as how ABC's The View routinely abuses Gov. Sarah Palin.
Motley expressed thanks and gratitude that FINALLY someone in the media was asking Rep. Frank about his extensive history of blockading, stonewalling and grandstanding against attempts to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, O'Reilly's righteously indignant questioning notwithstanding.
Motley also cautioned that "there is no diving in The View's thought pool," and pointed out that their panel make-up is biased in typical media fashion: three liberals and one conservative.
Updated below. Last Monday as the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the initial bailout package,both Fox News and CNN sent e-mail alert subscribers numerous alerts about the Dow's dive. The market recovered some the following day, a development that CNN neglected to mention in the same e-mail alerts.
Old Media's coverage of the recently-lifted executive and congressional bans on offshore exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas largely overlooked an important element that should have been very relevant to the discussion.
Supporters of lifting the bans surely share much of the blame for only rarely citing it. Though they have frequently noted the hundreds of billions of dollars a years annually sent overseas to pay for oil that could have been extracted here, they have mostly missed a golden opportunity to tell the American people what over a quarter-century of drilling bans has cost the government and taxpayers. They also generally failed to tell us about the windfall that awaits if the end of the offshore and other bans finally leads to appropriately aggressive use of this country's God-given resources.
But if we had inquisitive financial reporters in the business press who were interested in information relevant to the "Drill Baby Drill" debate instead of merely repackaging the press releases they received from those on both sides (the sole exception I found was this Wall Street Journal editorial), many more Americans would have long ago learned about what follows.
One of CNN's citizen reporters on their new iReport service caused a bit of panic for Apple's stock prices this week when one of those reports featured a false claim that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack. With rumors swirling the stock price fell until official news from Apple quashing the rumor calmed investors' fears.
Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift was diplomatic, but her message was clear: because Sarah Palin remains doubtful of getting a fair shake from the MSM, she wants to take her message directly to the American people. Swift, speaking on behalf of the McCain-Palin campaign, made the remark in response to a question from this NewsBuster during the course of a conference call this afternoon.
Swift took the question after making opening remarks in which she said that Governor Palin won last night's debate in part because she was able to connect with Americans as "a person from the middle class who [expressed] the real anxieties that families have about our economy right now." After suggesting that Senator Biden didn't connect as well, Swift added that Biden made a significant number of incorrect statements "that kept the fact-checkers busy."
It was then that NewsBusters had the opportunity to pose its question. Listen to audio here.
"Here's another sad sign of our economic times: Never before has the U.S. Postal Service laid off workers. Now, it's a real possibility," lamented Joe Davidson in the October 3 "Federal Diary" feature for the Washington Post.
But isn't that part of the problem with government in the first place? Rather than trimming expenses and payroll during tough economic times, the federal bureaucracy stubbornly insist on being immune to market forces that affect the private sector.
Davidson quoted American Postal Workers Union President William Burris that "for the first time in postal history, the losses cannot be recovered by postage rate increases."
Wow. Cry me a river. Davidson fails to explain that one major reason the federal tax-exempt USPS has been able to rate-hike its way out of trouble before is that, by federal law, it has a monopoly on the delivery of first class mail.
Why is the mainstream media --which keeps lecturing Americans that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's Bailout Package Version 2.0 must be passed immediately-- ignoring what might be the most earth-shattering provisions in Paulson's package?
The media needs to start asking hard questions. Here is where they need to start. If you look at page 180 of the 451-page monster bailout bill that easily passed the Senate yesterday (PDF here), you will see that it includes at Section 116 language about the tax treatment of "industrial source carbon dioxide." It also provides, at Section 117, for a "carbon audit of the tax code."
What could a provision about the tax treatment of "industrial source carbon dioxide" and another provision about doing a "carbon audit" of the tax code possibly have to do with restoring confidence in Wall Street's troubled credit markets?
The answer: NOTHING.
This appears to be an attempt by global warming fanatics to lay the foundation for an economy-killing carbon tax just like the "cap-and-tax" system that is now destroying European industry.
You've got to love brutal honesty, especially when it comes from the financial media.
The Senate's version of a bailout bill, which passed last night by a margin of 74-25, included "sweeteners" - or obscure tax breaks - including benefits for the manufacturer of wooden arrows used in children's toys and another for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
In case viewers did not understand the concept of a domino effect caused by the financial crisis, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen offered a visual representation as she declared: "What happens on Wall Street affects all of us on Main Street. It's the classic domino effect." At that point, six giant dominos where displayed in the studio, each one labeled with a different phase of the economic crisis (see video).
Chen went through each phase, and domino, with financial expert Vera Gibbons. At the end of the segment, Gibbons explained: "It's a domino effect, it all works together." Gibbons then knocked over the giant dominos and declared: "Voila!" Chen replied: "That's depressing." Prior to offering such a dumbed-down explanation of the financial crisis, on Monday, Chen referred to all the comedic material Sarah Palin provided to Saturday Night Live: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."
Ever since liberal media types felt robbed by the Bush-Quayle campaign’s "lies" about Michael Dukakis in 1988, we’ve been suffering through the media elite’s attempts to "police" the facts in advertisements. "Correction" squads are insisting that John McCain can’t say Barack Obama will raise taxes, no matter how much that announcing Democrats will raise taxes is like announcing the sun will rise.
In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle suggested Bill Clinton would raise taxes on the middle class. Quayle said in the vice presidential debate that everyone over $36,000 could face a tax hike. Media "experts" accused the GOP of mangling "facts." President Clinton was elected – and passed the largest tax increase in American history, right down to the middle class.
"It was Quayle who repeatedly twisted and misstated the facts," CNN reporter Brooks Jackson had pronounced after the vice presidential debate. On ABC, Jeff Greenfield proclaimed: "Independent examination of this charge by, for example, press organizations, has found it, to say the least, misleading."
While both CNN.com and FoxNews.com sent e-mail alert subscribers "breaking news" alerts on the Dow's steep slide yesterday in reaction to failure of the bailout package in the House of Representatives, CNN didn't think it worthy of a breaking news text to note the gains made today in the market.
Here are the Fox News text messages sent on September 30 regarding the Dow Jones:
DOW REGAINS NEARLY 500 POINTS ONE DAY AFTER RECORD LOSS (received 4:08 p.m. EDT)
DOW REBOUNDING, UP MORE THAN 300 POINTS A DAY AFTER 778-POINT FREEFALL (received 1:27 p.m. EDT)
Below, in reverse chronological order are the text message alerts I received from Fox News and CNN.com yesterday tracking the Dow's drop.:
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the presidential candidates’ reactions to the failure of the financial bailout, beginning with Obama: "Barack Obama's campaign had already released copies of a planned speech, saying lawmakers have agreed on an emergency plan. When that prediction went poof, Obama urged calm." Glor then turned to John McCain: "But Politico's Mike Allen believes John McCain had far more to lose. By suspending his campaign and jetting back to Washington, McCain staked a critical part of this campaign on a deal, then most of his fellow Republicans voted no and not a single representative from McCain's home state of Arizona voted yes." Half the Arizona congressional delegation are Democrats.
A clip Mike Allen was then played: "McCain set himself up for trouble. He came in late, he was a little half-hearted and now he owns a failure." Despite the bailout being characterized as a McCain failure in that report, earlier in the show, co-host Harry Smith questioned Virginia Congressman Jim Moran on the Democrats failure to pass the legislation: "Congressman Moran, let me ask you. You voted in the affirmative, yet, at least 40% of your Democratic colleagues voted against that. How -- how are you going to convince them that they should change their votes?"
CNN world affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria, in a column published in the October 6 issue of Newsweek, condescended towards Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, labeled her "utterly unqualified to be vice president," and complimented Katie Couric for her "smart question" to the Alaska governor in a recent interview. He later asserted clairvoyantly that"she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start."
As a result of this slam, CNN host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Zakaria on Monday’s The Situation Room, in which the analyst referenced Tina Fey’s nearly word-for-word quotation of Palin from the Couric interview on last Saturday’s SNL program, which was played earlier in the program: "The scary answer was on the economy -- the one you displayed switching back and forth between Saturday Night Live, because it was absolutely clear, that she simply did not understand any of the issues involved. She did not understand the question."
A Republican and a Democratic member of Congress attempted to calm "Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo during an interview on Tuesday. Cuomo interrogated GOP Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and her Democratic colleague, Mary Kaptur, about just what they would do now that the Wall Street bailout package had been rejected. After noticing the high pitched tenor in Cuomo's voice, Kaptur observed, "...You're very anxious."
In a soothing voice, she instructed, "I can hear your voice there. For the sake of the country, and even for the sake of the markets, I think you should operate prudently and with a little bit of calm in your voice today." This was after a barely restrained Cuomo thrust responsibility onto those politicians who opposed the bailout: "Your vote and the failure of this bill- are you ready to accept the potential responsibility for bringing down this economy as a result of your vote?" Continuing to point fingers, he accused, "You saw yesterday, 50 percent of Americans hold stocks. You lost $1.2 trillion in value."
Giving a pass to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her failure to cajole enough Democrats to vote for the bailout agreement, Newsweek's Daniel Gross blamed the minority Republican conference, accepting without skepticism the argument that a partisan speech by the San Francisco Democrat caused some Republicans to vote "nay" out of spite alone:
Was the bailout bill killed by malice or by incompetence? It's hard to argue against incompetence, since it has been so rampant, especially on the Republican side of things in Washington. The congressional leadership and the White House clearly lacked the heft-or the energy-to whip recalcitrant members into line.
Let's award a point of light to Matt Lauer. On this morning's Today, he called out Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for calling for an end to the blame game . . . right after the congressman blamed John McCain for failing to rally his Arizona troops to vote for the bailout. But that didn't stop Clyburn from continuing to try to pin the tail on the elephant.
JAMES CLYBURN: We promised 50% of our caucus; they promised 50% of their caucus, or their conference. We produced 60%, and they produced 33%.
MATT LAUER: Yeah, but in fairness, Congressman Clyburn, the Speaker of the House couldn't even deliver half of her own Democratic delegation from her own state.
CLYBURN: Well, that may be true. But zero from Arizona voted for this, and presidential candidate McCain came in, and he said he brought everybody to the table. But if you check, Matt, you will see that not a single person from Arizona voted for this legislation. So here is what we have to do, going forward. I think it's time for us to set aside blaming, set aside all of this extraneous stuff, like a speech that may have been delivered on the floor of the House [alluding to Pelosi's partisan spiel]. It's amazing to me that we can be so sophomoric to believe that a politician would not give a political speech.
Before Monday's House vote on the largest government bailout in American history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.), in potentially one of the most poorly-timed displays of partisanship in recent memory, blamed President Bush and Republicans for the turmoil in the financial services industry (video embedded right).
Such ill-advised finger pointing seemed to surprise press members of all shapes and sizes as some prominent print media outlets including the Washington Post and the New York Times quickly published articles quoting Republicans who blamed the bill's failure on Pelosi's hyper-partisan speech.
On the television side, CNN aired Republican reaction to the Speaker's comments moments after the votes were counted (partial transcript and embedded video follow):
The shock and awe of the financial market meltdown is just beginning according to CNBC star Jim Cramer.
Cramer on CNBC's Sept. 29 "Mad Money" cautioned viewers about the current market. His advice - do nothing because there's more pain to come if no rescue plan makes it out of Congress. As he put it: "sit on your hands."
"Only those stocks that are sure enough to pull the trigger on until we get to Dow 8,200 ... I said if the plan failed - only those you should be looking at - looking at," Cramer said. "Today's 777-point drop was just the beginning. Now is not the time to put your money at risk, it's the time to protect your nest egg."
Cramer recommended only stocks of companies that didn't need to borrow money in an environment with tough credit and sold products that would still be in demand during a bad economy - a very narrow spectrum of stocks. Otherwise, he told viewers to put their money in FDIC-insured banking accounts.
In a September 29 blog post aimed at "Placing Blame" for failure of the bailout package in the House of Representatives today, Time's Joe Klein began by tossing, "I don't blame John McCain for not rounding up enough Republican votes to get this bailout bill through the House of Representatives."
Klein added a few other reasons he doesn't blame the Arizona senator:
...he's never held a leadership position and therefore doesn't know how to whip votes and finally--well, uh--there is one tried and true method for getting members of Congress to vote aye and McCain opposes it: a sweetener, like say, funding for a bridge in their districts. That is one reason why we have earmarks. McCain is opposed to giving away baubles for the greater good.
Yet he left out one key fact. It was Democratic, not Republican votes that doomed the bailout agreement.
The theory that bailout legislation recently defeated in the House of Representatives would make money for the federal government has been propagated by the financial media. But according to a recent report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a profit is unlikely.
"What you find in the IMF report is of course that banking crises happen all the time," Patelis said. "If you look at the history of banking crises - that on average they cost about 13 percent of GDP to the government, both in terms of direct recapitalization costs, but also lost revenue."
"The View" co-hosts, who seemingly have difficulty understanding the Constitution, have demonstrated their lack of understanding in economics. Recapping Friday’s presidential debate on the September 29 edition of "The View," co-host Sherri Shepherd wondered how we can raise taxes. Whoopi Goldberg replied "it’s not going to happen. We are in too much financial trouble. We can’t."
A very brief lesson in economics will explain to the co-hosts that financial crisis may be the time to reduce taxes. It certainly is not the time to raise taxes as Herbert Hoover demonstrated possibly aggravating and prolonging the Great Depression. According to economist Art Laffer, in his theory "The Laffer Curve," sometimes reducing taxes can in fact generate more revenue. While the other "View" co-hosts fretted about taxes, Elisabeth Hasselbeck cited Barack Obama in possibly scaling back on extravagant spending promises.
Like an MSM version of Nancy Pelosi, whose hyper-partisan floor speech reportedly angered many GOP members, Chris Matthews wasted no time in trying to pin the blame for the defeat of the bailout plan on John McCain. Appearing during MSNBC's 2 PM hour, the key to Matthews' argument was his assertion that Dems "overwhelmingly" supported the measure, whereas McCain failed to rally a sufficient number of Republicans.
Love the bailout or hate it. Decry its defeat or rejoice in it. But one thing is clear: Matthews grossly misstated the facts. Far from supporting the plan "overwhelmingly," fully 40% of House Dems voted against it: a margin of 141-94. Republicans, the more free-market oriented of the two parties, were always more wary of the plan. It was clear that passage was largely going to depend on massive Dem support. If McCain failed to deliver, surely Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama failed as much or more.