I will warn you this is long, but if your interested in the truth this is a good place to start.
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
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-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<http://snipurl.com/457to>]
): "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 number-two 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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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.