Media Insulating Irresponsible Incumbents

Richard Olivastro
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Posted: Oct 15, 2008 10:21 AM
Media Insulating Irresponsible Incumbents

In light of the financial tsunami that most congressional incumbents are responsible for foisting on the American people, here is something that every American should know. Most, however, do not know because the media is selectively reporting information about the financial mess. And, the media has not told the public the facts about who sounded the alarm back when it could have been fixed, because doing so would remove the insulation they have installed to protect those incumbents - and candidates - who were –and some still are – at fault.

Here’s an example. This fact is in the record and can be easily validated.

More than two years ago (May 2006), 20 United States Senators sent a letter to Senate leadership pointing out “that if effective regulatory reform legislation for the housing-finance ‘government sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs) is not enacted this year (in 2006), American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial market, and the economy as a whole”.

In that letter, those 20 senators also pointed out that, “Today, almost half of all mortgages in the U.S. are owned or guaranteed by these GSEs”; and “They are mammoth financial institutions with almost $1.5 Trillion in debt outstanding between them”.

The 20 signers declared, “With the fiscal challenges facing us today (2006)… deficits, entitlements, pensions… Congress must ask itself who would actually pay this debt if Fannie and Freddie could not?”

That letter was sent by Senator John McCain. He was joined by 19 of his fellow senators.

Those 20 senators were acting responsibly. They sounded the alarm. Others did not.

It should be noted that Senator Barack Obama did not sign on to the letter. In fact, none of his fellow democrats in the U.S. Senate signed the letter.

It’s obvious, in any objective read, that the purpose of the letter was, yet again, another instance to engender real reform - and real change - in Washington, and protect America’s taxpayers.

Fast forward to today.

We’re in the middle of a presidential election campaign in which, on the one hand, there is a candidate who talks change; and on the other hand, a candidate who speaks about reform.

The short resume candidate talking change, insistently tries to tie his experienced opponent to the current president of his opponent’s party. That is the core campaign strategy of the candidate who talks change, because, he knows that, historically, ‘change’ to most voters is ‘change the party occupying the White House’. And the media beats their drum.

The change strategy worked early in the democrat primaries because the party base, widely liberal, was strongly against the Iraq war. Still, the candidate talking change was almost overtaken during the final months of the democratic primaries when Senator Clinton started to focus on his associations and specific issue positions.

Now, during the last weeks of the general election campaign, the candidate talking change is able to continue using his vague change scenario because of the so-called mainstream media’s inability - or unwillingness - to properly vet, disclose, and report facts, including those uncovered by others, to the American public. That’s how media insulation works.

Meanwhile, according to the latest polls, the candidate who speaks about reforming government - and has positive confirming evidence in his record - struggles to stay in the general election game. The media forgets the candor and straight talk of the past.

During the primaries his campaign, at times, seemed on its last legs. Among his party field, the media seemed to favor him. That was certainly the case during his career when he often would take on his own party, and others, when he believed they were wrong. Back then, he was recognized by the media for his candor and ‘straight talk’. But now, whatever he says is, almost always, quickly countered by apologists for his opponent within the same media.

Despite the understandable worry of many Americans, there remains time for all voters to learn the facts – as exampled above – and grasp the evidence – or lack thereof – in the record of each candidate. Each day listen closely to the candidates own message. Ignore media spin.

And, in the meantime, here’s a suggestion to help weigh each candidate’s talk of change and reform as you quest to identify which candidate is, in fact, the right choice for our country.

Use the classic “on the one hand versus on the other hand” approach to compare the choices. Alternately, assign each candidate to the right hand as potentially the right choice. Then, in turn, consider which candidate seems to really fit the left hand. The one on the left is the one who should be left at the altar of his own ambition.