In a September 30 blog post, Daniel Libit uncritically repeated Newt Gingrich's false claim that Democrats wanted "provisions to provide money to" ACORN in the financial bailout bill, despite the Politico's having noted two days earlier that ACORN "was not specifically directed any funds in the ... proposal."
Media figures have recently accused Democrats of attempting to direct millions of dollars in government money to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in the financial bailout bill. The accusation is false. Neither the draft proposal nor the version of the bill that was voted down in the House contained any language mentioning ACORN. Those making the false claim were misrepresenting a provision -- since removed -- that would have directed 20 percent of any profits realized on troubled assets purchased under the plan into the Housing Trust Fund* and the Capital Magnet Fund.
In a blog post, Jay Carney claimed that Sen. John McCain's "campaign has released a 60-second ad that uses Bill Clinton's words to pin the blame for the mortgage crisis on Democrats" without noting that in the interview clipped in the ad, Clinton actually said that "the biggest mistake" was the SEC's repealing of a regulation on short selling, when President Bush was in office.
Fox News host Brit Hume and correspondent Bret Baier suggested that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were heavily involved in the subprime mortgage market "years ago," and falsely suggested that Rep. Barney Frank has opposed stricter regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Neither Hume nor Baier noted that Fannie and Freddie were not active in the subprime market in 2003, or that Frank has supported and authored bills to strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker asserted that Republicans "responded" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's speech before the vote on the financial bailout plan "by voting against the bill," even after House Minority Whip Roy Blunt backed off a claim that a dozen Republicans who might have supported the bill were alienated by Pelosi's speech and several Republicans denied that Pelosi's speech swayed any votes.
The Washington Post uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama "would raise taxes." In fact, the Tax Policy Center concluded that, compared with McCain, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers" -- those households earning more than $250,000 per year.
The Los Angeles Times reported that "Republican leaders said they lost 12 votes at the last minute" for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 because of a "partisan speech" given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and quoted House Minority Leader John Boehner asserting that "we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave." However, the Times did not note statements by members of Congress, including Republicans, that Republicans did not have the votes to pass the legislation.
Time's Karen Tumulty described an "underplayed story of the day":
On A17 of the Washington Post: The U.S. Attorney scandal now has a new prosecutor of its own, after a scathing report confirms that there were, indeed, political motives at work in the firings.
A17? That is, indeed, an underplayed story.
You know who else has underplayed it? Time magazine. Tumulty's post is the only Swampland mention of the "scathing report" that "confirms" the central question of the scandal: that the Bush administration fired the U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. Time's web page has no other mentions of the report, other than a reprint of an Associated Press article.
But that's nothing new: Time has been underplaying this story for more than a year and a half. When the scandal first broke in January 2007, Time Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney mocked liberals for "seeing broad partisan conspiracies where none likely exist." He and his magazine then ignored the story for months, leaving the journalism to Josh Marshall and the TPM crew, among others.
And Time continues to underplay the story to this day, even as Tumulty chides the Washington Post for burying its coverage on page A17.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto contradicted reporting by Fox News by suggesting that the financial bailout bill would not have failed if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "had just shut up earlier and not characterized it one way or the other" in a speech she gave before the vote. However, Fox News producer Chad Pergram reported before Pelosi spoke that Republicans "may only have 40 to 60 of their members" supporting the bill, a number that Pergram said "leaves us very short there." Additionally, several GOP House members have said that Pelosi's speech did not cause Republicans to switch their votes.
A McClatchy article stated that Sen. John McCain "appeared before the press in Iowa ... and said: 'Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship in the process.' " But the article did not note that in the next sentence of the same speech, McCain contradicted himself on whether it was appropriate to affix blame, saying: "Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem."
ABCNews.com's Terry Davis and Rigel Anderson reported that "[Sen. John] McCain's top policy adviser hammered [Sen. Barack] Obama for a set of prepared remarks which incorrectly assumed that the bailout would pass," but they did not note that both McCain and another key McCain campaign adviser prematurely touted McCain's role in achieving passage of the bill.
Several conservatives in the media have recently blamed the Community Reinvestment Act for the current financial crisis -- when, in fact, the CRA does not apply to institutions making the vast majority of troubled loans underlying the crisis. It applies only to depository institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations. Experts have estimated that 80 percent of high-priced subprime loans were offered by financial institutions that are not subject to the CRA.
Several media outlets falsely suggested that only Democrats denied Republican claims that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's speech on the floor of the House of Representatives before a September 29 vote on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 "cost some GOP votes." In fact, several House Republicans also have denied the allegation.
Mike Barnicle and Mark Halperin on MSNBC this morning agreed that the unserious media fell down in terms of holding the powerful accountable. That it, "abdicated that responsibility" over the years.