Friday, September 19, 2008

Media Bias: Washington Post Covering Facts to Support Obama?

I was waiting a few days on this story to see how things panned out. Now that we have entered the realm of media bias, I couldn't wait any longer. Earlier this week, McCain's camp released this ad entitled "Advice" which hits Obama on ties to Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines. (Grabbing the archive from Hot Air.)

The voice-over from the ad:
Obama has no background in economics. Who advises him? The Post says it’s Franklin Raines, for “advice on mortgage and housing policy.”


Under Raines, Fannie Mae committed “extensive financial fraud.” Raines made millions. Fannie Mae collapsed.

Taxpayers? Stuck with the bill.

Barack Obama. Bad advice. Bad instincts. Not ready to lead.
The story got more interesting when Raines and Obama immediate released statements countering the claim in the ad that Raines ever advised Obama. First Obama's statement:
This is another flat-out lie from a dishonorable campaign that is increasingly incapable of telling the truth. Frank Raines has never advised Senator Obama about anything — ever. And by the way, someone whose campaign manager and top advisor worked and lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shouldn’t be throwing stones from his seven glass houses.
Letting the snide little "seven glass houses" dig slide, let's move on to the statement by Raines:
I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters.
So which is it? Did Raines advise Obama or is this an actual lie by McCain? Today the Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post weighed in:
This John McCain ad is based on a disputed premise.

There’s no dispute that Obama has no background in economics — but then, neither does McCain, which makes this an odd charge for the Arizona senator to hurl.

Fannie Mae did collapse, requiring a government takeover, and Raines, its former chairman, paid $25 million in April to settle a case brought by federal authorities investigating his role in the agency’s accounting problems. But he has never been a close adviser to Obama.
Is this last sentence true? Or is this another example of media bias? Ed Morrisey found these two interesting articles from the Washington Post:
  • 7/16/08: “In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae’s chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case’s D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.”
  • 8/28/08: “In the current crisis, their biggest backers have been Democrats such as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (Mass.). Two members of Mr. Obama’s political circle, James A. Johnson and Franklin D. Raines, are former chief executives of Fannie Mae.
What we have here is a reporter of the Washington Post ignoring previous stories from the Washington Post when performing an "analysis". His only defense is that if this is the level of fact checking the Post does maybe those previous articles we just made up. Maybe the reporters at the time had a quota to fill and just made up names and connections between them. Otherwise, Kurtz has some explaining to do.

In a more general sense, I will repeat this warning to those new to the idea that media bias might actually exist. Trust nothing you read unless you do your research and see it in multiple sources. In this respect, mainstream media reporting is no more trustworthy than a random blog by a random person. Don't be fooled.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

This does not suprise me at all that Obama has another close "friend" that is SO STINKING CORRUPT and bad for this country! Now Raines, it was Jim Johnson, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko and the America hating Rev. Wright.

Americans need to wake up and see the Kool-aid the Barry Obama camp is pooring for them. Pure garbage.

Nobama....Keep the Change