[Posted by DRJ for Patterico; Written by Patterico.]
The Los Angeles Times has a typically ridiculous article about who is to blame for the mortgage crisis. Not surprisingly, it includes almost every liberal claim floating around out there, and eliminates virtually every fact that might indicate Democrat inaction and Republican action.
The headline reads: In D.C., few evade blame for financial crisis. The deck headline reads:
Congress had a big hand in oversight failures and deregulation, in part through a philosophy of reducing government’s role. Rep. Waxman begins hearings today.
And the first paragraphs read:
WASHINGTON — When Congress voted last week to bail out Wall Street banks and investment houses, members were also indirectly voting to repair damage lawmakers themselves had caused during a decades-long era of deregulation.
As the blame game moves into high gear in Washington, there seem to be few winners. Already under scrutiny are lawmakers from both political parties, Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their predecessors, and record amounts of money funneled to Congress from Wall Street and the two government-backed mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Here is the sum total of the credit given to Republicans:
But others — including Clinton — insist that members of Congress from both parties should be held accountable. The two-term leader rapped Democrats last week for “resisting efforts by Republicans in Congress and by me when I was President” to tighten regulatory and accounting standards on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Republicans are now touting the role that their presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, played in advocating stricter regulation of the mortgage giants.
You’d think you might hear more about this, but you don’t. What efforts did Republicans and Clinton pursue to tighten standards on Fannie and Freddie? Did McCain actually play a role in advocating stricter regulation — despite Obama’s and Biden’s claims that he has always been for deregulation??
We are never told. Nowhere does the paper mention John McCain’s support for regulatory legislation:
For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market…I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie and Freddie pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.
So what are the specific reasons given for the crisis? First, we’re told that “[t]he influence of money from special interests — which flowed into congressional campaign coffers in huge streams — is cited by some as a prime factor.” And “Exhibit A on the use of money to court decision-makers is the record of Fannie and Freddie.”
So this is the part where we hear about the fact that Barack Obama was the second biggest recipient of donations from Fannie and Freddie from 1989 to 2008? No, that doesn’t make its way into the article; nor does the fact that McCain doesn’t even show up on the list. No, what is important is that McCain’s top campaign advisor took money from Fannie and Freddie — even though this could not possibly have affected McCain’s vote during the relevant time periods.
Instead, we are told about a Republican (Christopher Shays) who the paper says has a mixed record on supporting regulation, and a Democrat (Byron Dorgan) who supported regulation. By selecting these individuals as examples, the article manages to suggest that Democrats were champions of regulation in this area, and Republicans sought deregulation.
Nowhere are we told that Democrats took money from Fannie and Freddie and then asserted that there was no problem:
Nowhere is there a quote from Barney Frank telling us: “These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis.”
The lesson here, John McCain, is that the media is not going to make this case for you.
You have to do it yourself.