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A look at "journalism" by a journalist ...

by Edward ODaniel / October 26, 2008 3:34 AM PDT
Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card

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 Senator 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 sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.


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.


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 news paper in our city.


Read before the knee jerking as "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."

It has been mentioned before but there are none so blind as those who will not see BY CHOICE!
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Boy Howdy !!!!!!
by critic411 / October 26, 2008 4:00 AM PDT

Do I agree with that !!!!!

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(NT) Too true.
by EdHannigan / October 26, 2008 11:16 AM PDT
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I noticed something...
by J. Vega / October 26, 2008 11:27 AM PDT

I noticed something in recent news stories. In some places, housing prices have gotten to the level that sales are starting to pick up. The stories I saw said that mortgages can be had, but now the lenders are examining the financial state of customers and are requiring down payments.
This raises a question. What if the givers of these new mortgages do not meet the minority group number requirements of the CRA?

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(NT) CRA loan repayments have been strong.
by Dan McC / October 26, 2008 11:51 AM PDT
In reply to: I noticed something...
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I don't know, but I would bet that the CRA is
by Kiddpeat / October 27, 2008 9:58 AM PDT
In reply to: I noticed something...

history. I simply cannot believe that the Fed, or any other regulator, will try to force banks to continue lending to high risk borrowers.

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One small quibble. Although I largely agree with this guy,
by Kiddpeat / October 27, 2008 10:52 AM PDT

enough with "tell me the truth". That could be part of what has caused the media failure. They are telling us what they think is true, or, parhaps in many cases, what they want the truth to be.

I don't want to know what they think the truth is, or what they want it to be. I want to know what the facts are on both sides of an issue. I can usually decide from there what I think is true.

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