Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?"... Orson Scott Card Calls for Journalistic Integrity

A great op-ed by Orson Scott Card, who the author of Ender's Game and a Democrat. He's asking for journalistic integrity. Begging.

Just a few days ago I was meeting with my French-Canadian buddy who is so far left it amazes me that he wants to live in the U.S.:) Anyway, while we were disagreeing on various topics we both agreed that the discourse in the U.S. has boiled down to rubbish. We were talking about how sad it is when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert penetrate the daily conversations of political discourse. The majority of media outlets are just PR hacks for both parties, and rarely are people able to criticize both parties consistently. Reading Card's op-ed speaks to this:

"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.)


Instead, it was Sen. 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 subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.


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 daily newspaper in our city."

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