Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? – RhinoTimes Reprint

By Orson Scott Card

Editor’s note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

October 20, 2008
 
An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:I remember reading All the President’s Men and thinking: That’s journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It’s a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can’t repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can’t make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.They end up worse off than before.
This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.
Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It’s as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of congressmen who support increasing their budget.)
Isn’t there a story here? Doesn’t journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren’t you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. “Housing-gate,” no doubt. Or “Fannie-gate.”

Instead, it was Sen. Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled “Do Facts Matter?” (http://snipurl.com/457to): “Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury.”

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was … the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was … the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It’s not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let’s follow the money … right to the presidential candidate who is the number two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Fred Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate’s campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an “adviser” to the Obama campaign — because that campaign had sought his advice — you actually let Obama’s people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn’t listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension — so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That’s what you claim you do, when you accept people’s money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that’s what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don’t like the probable consequences. That’s what honesty means. That’s how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards’ own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women (NOW) threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That’s where you are right now.

It’s not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation’s prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama’s door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You’re just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it’s time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.

Reprint from The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro
View the complete article here:

 greensboro.rhinotimes.com
 

 

 

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Does US Weekly Regret It’s Sarah Palin Bashing?

US Weekly is apparently attempting to stem the flow of subscription cancellations it is receiving in response to it’s slandering of Sarah Palin and her family last week.

The trash tabloid magazine is now offering 5 free issues to disgruntled readers in an effort to keep them. (I discuss US Weekly’s bias in this post from last week). Despite their efforts, I really don’t think we’ll see the last of their political left slant.

I can’t help to laugh at the emails they are sending in reply to these cancellation requests. These two were posted on Michelle Malkin’s blog. As you can see the first one is definitely a stepped up attempt, they must be losing readers by the truckload.

Have you cancelled your subscription yet?

From: US Weekly USWcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 11:17:57 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: cancel subscription (KMM23347217I103L0KM)
To: xxx

Thank you for contacting US Weekly.

We are sorry you are upset over the Governor Palin cover. We do not want to lose you as a subscriber over one article in one issue. In an effort to keep you as a subscriber, we will add five FREE issues to your subscription. Please let us know if you would like us to extend your current subscription rather than canceling our publication.

Thank you,
US Weekly
Cari

 

From: USWcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com
Subject: Re: CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION…PLEASE (KMM23206123I103L0KM)
Date: September 5, 2008 6:43:21 AM PDT
To: xxx

Thank you for contacting US Weekly.

We apologize you are upset over our cover featuring Sarah Palin. Every week our editors select what they feel are the most compelling stories, regardless of the controversy it may create. In all fairness, we ask you please take the time to read the story before deciding to cancel. After reading should you still wish to cancel, please let us know and we will honor your request.

Thank you,
US Weekly
Janie

US Weekly / OK Magazine- Painful Lies about Babies and Scandal


My wife is one of those who enjoy reading the Hollywood gossip magazines. I admit to feeling the urge to flip through these tabloid magazines every once and a while, but I can’t help but to give a chuckle after most of the stories.

US Weekly and OK magazine are a couple of those that I see her read with some regularity. Normally, I don’t pay much attention to the content of these trash mags until I saw the latest covers floating on a few blogs.

The latest issue of US Trashy blasted on the cover, “Babies, Lies, and Scandal”. Where are the lies? No scandal has been proven and probably never will be, and as for the babies, that has nothing to do with this election and it reaks of sexism. Do you think US Weekly may have an agenda when they publish trash like this, but when covering Obama in June the headline read “Michelle Obama, Why Barak Loves Her”? Would it surprise you to know that if the owner of US Weekly, Jann Wenner (founder of Rolling Stone magazine) is a staunch Barack Obama supporter and major donor?

In the latest OK edition, the front cover features Obama and his family and reads, “Life With My Girls”, and of course paints a perfect family picture. In unsurprising contrast, the flipside shows Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain’s new running mate, holding her baby boy Trig. The unabashed headline states, “A Mother’s Painful Choice,” and alludes to the blatantly false internet rumor in which Gov. Palin allegedly faked her pregnancy and birth to her Down’s syndrome afflicted son. This apparently was meant to cover up the out of wedlock teen pregnancy of her 17 yr old daughter Bristol. The story has no legs and has been rebuffed Alaskan locals who are familiar with the young Palin and her fiancé, Levi Johnston.

The bias is unmistakable and outrageous. I don’t care is these tabloids ruffle the feathers of my favorite TV and movie stars. They get paid big bucks to put up with it. However, when you attack a public citizen’s character and minor child for political motivation it is deplorable and reprehensible. Conservative and fair minded people who read these magazines should be outraged and write to the editors of this garbage. Tell them you won’t buy their junk if they keep printing this viciousness.

Unfair, lop-sided coverage of this election is unbelievable. If the “real” media would have picked up the Edwards story, as they should have, a garbage paper like the Enquirer would never have had a chance, and might have run a story about how good Britney Spears is looking these days. Everywhere you look you can’t escape the hyped up one sided stories about “the one”. Now it’s even in the checkout aisles at the supermarkets.

Entertainers should stay out of politics, and so should the tabloids that cover them. The line between Hollywood and Washington is getting blurred indeed, and frankly I am sick of it. I am tired of listening to actors and singers donating their image and time to support their “feel good” liberal candidates and causes, and I’m tired of politicians pandering to their audiences via the entertainers that I would like to enjoy.