On August 24, all three network evening news broadcasts led with stories on the tumbling housing market. While ABC and NBC fretted over another economic apocalypse, CBS reporter Anthony Mason looked at the effect government-sponsored entities (GSE’s) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have on the housing market.
“The steep fall off in housing sales highlights the degree to which the government has been propping up the housing market,” said Mason, “and the two biggest pillars of that system, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are facing a crisis.”
As the Business & Media Institute has documented, the GSE’s have faced a crisis for years, but Mason was the only evening news reporter to investigate the GSE’s instead of hiding from the falling sky.
“The government has already pumped nearly $150 billion into Fannie and Freddie to keep them afloat, and some say taxpayers could end up with a trillion dollar bill,” Mason reported.
Bloomberg reported the possible $1 trillion taxpayer cost over two months ago and, while Mason mentioned the Future of Housing Finance Conference panel discussion on housing solutions, CBS failed to report on the conference last week when it was actually held. Rather, CBS chose to air a story on fedora hats.
At the very end of his report, Mason returned to his liberal talking points when substitute anchor Harry Smith questioned whether the stimulus was helping the economy.
“Well in fact, the Congressional Budget Office came out with a report today that suggested the stimulus added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy and boosted GDP by 4.5 percent,” Mason said. “If that’s accurate, the stimulus, in fact, saved us from another recession.”
By contrast, NBC ‘Nightly News’ host Brian Williams harped on the poor housing numbers without investigating the cause of the numbers.
“You can probably look around and see our lead story tonight. Housing, the real estate market, it’s a disaster,” Williams said.
CBS has been almost alone in challenging the GSE’s, as the networks ignore the GSEs’ role in the housing mess. The networks remained silent on the GSE’s absence in the financial reform bill and only when the housing market plummets do the networks consider questioning them.