ABC Hypes Gingrich Connection to Freddie Mac, Ignores New CEO Bonuses
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday both reported on the revelation that Newt Gingrich received almost $2 million while consulting for Freddie Mac over an eight year span.
Yet, the network ignored the fact that the company (with a Democratic President) is still giving massive bonuses and will now be asking the federal government for an additional $6 billion.
On World News, Jon Karl highlighted only the Gingrich connection, highlighting attacks by Michele Bachmann.
Yet, while ABC focused only on this, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News also ran full stories on, as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell explained, "So, here's what set off the latest round of outrage. $13 million in bonuses for the two mortgage giants that had to be bailed out by taxpayers. Now these bonuses come after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac actually lost $4 billion last quarter."
So, while NBC's Andrea Mitchell offered snarky comments, such as insisting that Gingrich is "trying to explain his gold platted, insider status," at least NBC allowed that the company still had issues, separate from their relation to GOP presidential candidates.
On CBS's Evening News, Wyatt Andrews noted the "bipartisan anger" from Republicans and Democrats over the latest news.
Speaking of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae CEOs, Andrews added, "Fannie's Michael Williams and Freddie's Charles Haldeman, earned $9.3 million and $7.8 million over two years, which gives them, Republican Darrell Issa said, the best taxpayer-financed jobs ever."
On Thursday's Early Show, Jan Crawford mentioned the congressional investigation during a Gingrich segment. GMA only focused on the Republican presidential candidate. NBC's Today did the same.
A transcript of the Evening News segment can be found below:
SCOTT PELEY: In Washington today, Congress was judging the hefty paychecks of the executives who run two government mortgage companies known by their nicknames, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie and Freddie own half of all mortgages. Taxpayers had to bail out both companies, and Wyatt Andrews tell us that's why executives were feeling the heat on Capitol Hill.
WYATT ANDREWS: If anything could draw bipartisan anger in Congress, this was it. Huge paychecks and bonuses for top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when those two agencies combined have cost taxpayers $169 billion, with the losses still mounting. The two CEOs who faced the heat, Fannie's Michael Williams and Freddie's Charles Haldeman, earned $9.3 million and $7.8 million over two years, which gives them, Republican Darrell Issa said, the best taxpayer-financed jobs ever.
REP. DARRELL ISSA: You made $9.3 million in the last two years, while the president made $800,000. Do you think that's OK?
ANDREWS: Democrats railed that those million-dollar payouts could have helped more Americans keep their homes. Congressman Edolphus Towns.
REP. EDOLPHUS TOWNS: Then you look at these salaries, and one would say, wait a minute. Why don't we take these salaries and save a whole block?
CHARLES HALDEMAN (Ex-Freddie Mac CEO): I understand the outrage.
ANDREWS: Haldeman of Freddie Mac said he got the message, but he defended the bonuses. Executives juggling $900 billion in taxpayer-backed mortgages, he said, had to be the best.
HALDEMAN: The people that are required are highly skilled, sophisticated, seasoned people that have many, many opportunities for high- paying jobs.
ANDREWS: One House committee has already voted, meanwhile, to - voted overwhelmingly to block all future bonuses anywhere at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now, that's not likely to pass both Houses of Congress, but, Scott, that's a message from Capitol Hill to stop the multi-million-dollar paydays.
— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.