When Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., announced his intention not to seek re-election after a 32-year career, not one of the nightly news broadcast network anchors found time or space to mention either Frank’s central role in the housing meltdown or his congressional reprimand. Not one. Similarly, an Associated Press article headlined, “Democratic Rep. Barney Frank Announces Retirement,” mentioned the reprimand, but nada on Frank and the housing collapse.
ABC called him “one of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill.” NBC said, “Among his legacies — besides his legendary sharp tongue — he was the first member of Congress to publicly acknowledge he was gay, back in 1987.” In a nearly 30-paragraph press release — uh, news article — headlined, “Barney Frank, a Top Liberal, Won’t Seek Re-election,” The New York Times sanitized, purged and whitewashed.
The “all the news that’s fit to print” newspaper, America’s most influential, left out a few things.
Frank relentlessly defended Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the “government sponsored entities” at the center of the housing meltdown. National Review editorialized: “[I]t is as a champion of a different kind of pay-for-play operation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that the congressman did the most damage to the country.” Economist Thomas Sowell wrote last year, “No one contributed more to the policies behind the housing boom and bust, which led to the economic disaster we are now in, than Congressman Barney Frank.”
Sowell explains: “His powerful position on the House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services gave him leverage to force through legislation and policies which pressured banks and other lenders to grant mortgage loans to people who would not qualify under the standards which had long prevailed…. With the federal regulators leaning on banks to make more loans to people who did not meet traditional qualifications — the ‘underserved population’ in political Newspeak — and quotas being given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more of these riskier mortgages from the original lenders, critics pointed out the dangers in these pressures to meet arbitrary home ownership goals. But Barney Frank counter-attacked these critics.”
Whom did Frank blame when the housing meltdown — and Freddie and Fannie’s role in it — became obvious even to Frank? “Right-wing Republicans,” he said.
The Big Three nightly news anchors and the Times also managed to avoid any mention of Frank’s congressional reprimand for fixing the parking tickets of a male prostitute.
“Representative Frank,” writes National Review, “was reprimanded by the House for making misleading statements to a Virginia prosecutor on behalf of the prostitute — whom the congressman eventually put on his own payroll — and for having fixed dozens of parking tickets on this behalf.” Frank denied knowing that his lover, a convicted drug dealer, was running a prostitution business out of the congressman’s house. The boyfriend, however, insisted that Frank knew about it.
But wait, there’s more. NR also notes: “[Frank] was sexually involved with a Fannie Mae executive during a time when he was voting on laws affecting the organization. The final cost of the Fannie/Freddie bailouts will run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and the real damage that the organizations did to the U.S. economy — and the world economy, for that matter — probably is incalculable.”
UCLA political science professor and economist Tim Groseclose estimates that the pro-liberal mainstream media add 8 to 10 percentage points to the ratings of a Democratic candidate in a typical election. The bias comes in many forms, including simply leaving relevant things out, thus helping to shape public opinion that aids Democrats and hurts Republicans.
The coverage of Frank’s retirement shows how this is done. How would consumers getting their news from ABC/NBC/CBS/Times learn that Frank was reprimanded by Congress? They wouldn’t. How would consumers getting their news from ABC/NBC/CBS/Times learn about his central role in the housing meltdown? They wouldn’t.
At a 43 percent Gallup approval rating, President Barack Obama presently governs with the worst approval rating at this juncture of any president since Harry Truman — including Jimmy Carter, whose popularity temporarily spiked after the Iran hostage crisis. Imagine where Obama’s numbers would be if the media did not serve as a public-relations arm of the administration.
But thanks to the media’s love and support, the bullying Congressman Frank gets to leave Congress with his head high instead of what he deserves — the deep and widespread scorn of the American people.
But there’s worse news.
The ranking Democrat who stands to inherit his position on the powerful House Financial Services Committee is none other than hyper-lefty Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Waters is currently under an ethics investigation for not disclosing her financial interest in a community bank for which she successfully obtained a bailout. After accusing, without evidence, oil companies of price fixing, she threatened to “socialize” them — or, as she explained to the oil execs, “Basically, taking over and the government running all of your companies.”
On second thought, maybe Frank wasn’t so bad.