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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Journalism died during this campaign, 1st Amendment soon to take hit

Elections, McCain 2008, Obama 2008, Truth

http://content.clearchannel.com/cc-common/mlib/1176/10/1176_1224605107.pdf Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? Monday, Oct 20, 2008

 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.
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-
About the Author:

 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.
As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts
Matter?" ( http://snipurl.com/457townhall_com] ): "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 numbertwo
recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.
And after Freddie 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
http://www.

 Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the
Lights?
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.
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-
About the Author:
Photo Credit: Bob Henderson
Henderson Photography, Inc.
Born in Richland, Washington, Card grew up in
California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil
for two years as missionary for the Church. He
received degrees from Brigham Young
University (1975) and the University of Utah
(1981). He currently lives in Greensboro, North
Carolina. He and his wife, Kristine, are the
parents of five children: Geoffrey, Emily,
Charles, Zina Margaret, and Erin Louisa
(named for Chaucer, Bronte and Dickinson,
Dickens, Mitchell, and Alcott, respectively). To
learn more about Orson Scott Card please
click here.
Related Resources:
Ideas and Society Archive
What do you think?
Share your thoughts, comments, and
impressions about this article.
Format for Print
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http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081017light.html (1 of 4) [10/20/2008 10:27:41 PM]
Meridian Magazine:: Ideas and Society: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
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page with a friend.
Click here.
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.
As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts
Matter?" ( http://snipurl.com/457townhall_com] ): "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 numbertwo
recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.
And after Freddie 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
http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081017light.html (2 of 4) [10/20/2008 10:27:41 PM]
Meridian Magazine:: Ideas and Society: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
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's 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 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.
http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081017light.html (3 of 4) [10/20/2008 10:27:41 PM]
Meridian Magazine:: Ideas and Society: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
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 news
paper in our city.
This article first appeared in The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North
Carolina, and is used here by permission.

 

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