Networks Suffer From 'Epidemic' of Poor Reporting on Subprime Mortgages

March 28th, 2007 5:03 PM

"We should have went to the mob for a loan," said Bronx homeowner Ana Rosado on CNN's March 27 "American Morning."

Her statement, extreme as it was, rivaled network reporting in March about subprime loans and foreclosures.

Reporters called the situation a “meltdown,” an “epidemic” and a “crisis” that could potentially lead to recession, and blamed lenders while almost entirely ignoring personal responsibility for borrowers. Instead, media accounts portrayed borrowers as victims, many of whom seemed shocked when their adjustable-rate mortgages adjusted upward.

While lenders were painted as the bad guys, they were rarely allowed to give any perspective. The networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, have done at least 26 stories on subprime loans just in the month of March, but only six of those included a lender’s voice. That meant an overwhelming 77 percent of stories didn’t even try to explain the lenders’ position.

Reporters overlooked facts, made excuses for borrowers and made all lenders sound like predators and then speculated about the damage the subprime situation would have on the overall economy.

Some of the worst examples:

ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" used the pejorative term "Home Wreckers" for lenders on March 26 and 27.

NBC's "Today" called people facing foreclosure "victims" on March 25.

ABC's "Nightline" blamed American's debt issues on "lenders egg[ing]them on" in a March 14 story.