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?
Have they noticed all of their ratings are down? Have they noticed their circulation is dwindling? Is it because they have found out more about "Joe the Plumber" in TWO DAYS than they have told us about Senator Obama in TWO YEARS?
I watched them interview Sarah Palin, and not once did they ask her how she accomplished all that she has in Alaska. How did she become Alaska's first female Governor? How did she overhaul of the state’s ethics laws? What was her role in formulating a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline? What did she do when she was elected by her peers to serve as president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. How did she manage to negotiate a deal with the big oil companies that allowed her to get rid of the state gasoline tax, and brought dividends to every citizen of Alaska? How did she manage to cut her own salary and reduce property taxes 60%? Instead of even asking anything about this woman's accomplishments, they took the dirty approach and grilled her until she made mistakes. She is a great woman with actual accomplishments, unlike their darling Obama who has accomplished what?? And they don't even talk about the gaffes he has made in his interviews, ones that they glossed right over. Ones that demonstrated he was lost, not presidential, and not even remotely qualified. 57 states with one to go? He thought kentucky was closer to Arkansas than to Illinois? In front of a roaring Sioux Falls, S.D., audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you, Sioux City. ... I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.” He said his parents got together at the Selma Bridge march and shortly afterward, Obama Jr was born. Bridge march happened 4 years AFTER he was born. He complained that there were not enough interpreters in Afghanistan because they are all in Iraq. Nevermind the fact that in Iraq they speak Arabic or Kurdish, and in Afghanistan they speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.
I could go on and on and on. But he gets a pass. No tough questions. His Pravda will not have it!
They won't even play Joe Biden's remarks about an eminent threat within six months of an Obama Presidency. They don't go to Union street to Katie's restaurant like Joe Biden invited us to in the debates. It's been closed since the mid 1980's. Katie Couric never even batted an eyelash when Joe talked about people watching President Roosevelt on their TV's in 1929. She didn't know who the president was in 1929? She is so ignorant of her own industry that she doesn't question people watching TV in 1929? No, she knew.