Although, we can’t confirm the accuracy of the allegations against Herman Cain, we do know one thing: the Republican’s alleged dalliances didn’t cost taxpayers a dime. And yet day in and day out, our news media promote the story as if our government weren’t in debt, the Democrat Senate had passed annual budgets in the last 925 days, the economy were booming and the world beyond our shores was calm.
CNN has become the Cain “News” Network with “breaking news” at the top of every hour (at least when I’ve been watching) on the latest woman to claim he made untoward advances toward her. All this coverage has buried stories with real relevance to our system of government and our national economy. Reuters reported last night that a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) with which one Democratic Congressman wanted to “roll the dice” is asking for more money from the federal government:
Fannie Mae, the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, on Tuesday said it needed a further $7.8 billion in federal aid to stay afloat as a shaky housing market widened its third-quarter loss to $5.1 billion.
The government-controlled firm also attributed the deeper cash drain to losses on derivatives used to hedge its exposure to interest-rate swings and on expenses related to home loans made prior to the 2008 financial collapse. In the year-earlier quarter it had a loss of a $1.3 billion.
Fannie Mae has now drawn $112.6 billion in bailout funds from the Treasury Department since being seized by the government in 2008 as mortgage losses mounted, and it has returned $17.2 billion to taxpayers in the form of dividends.
Now, just a few months ago, we learned that said Congressman, a Mr. B. Frank, helped his boyfriend “land a job at [the] mortgage giant . . . in the early 1990s at the same time Congress was writing legislation to improve oversight of the lender“. This wasn’t the first time Barney used his position to help a boyfriend.
We don’t know if Barney’s relationship caused — or even contributed to — the mortgage meltdown. What we do know is that the story generated a little buzz for a few days and then died. Barney bent over backwards to defend Fannie Mae, an institution at the heart of the financial crisis, a government-backed enterprise which continues to beg for cash from the federal treasury.
Only a handful of reporters covered story about Barney getting his boyfriend a job at this GSE he defended, a very real conflict of interest. There was just one line at Politico. I could find nothing on CNN’s web-page.*
So, the question is, why are our friends in the mainstream media devoting so much time to the Cain kerfuffle when they devoted so little to Barney Frank’s clear conflict of interest? And Barney defended an institution which cost taxpayers (and their descendants) over $100 billion.
*Using google, I did advanced searches for “gretchen morgenson barney frank” (without quotation marks) at each site. I found a lot of stuff on Politico’s fora, but only one the one line linked. If you find other references, please let me know and I will update the post accordingly. I chose this search because some articles used “companion” to designate Barney’s significant other. Morgenson broke the story in her book, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon.