Monday, March 09, 2009

Agenda Journalism Now & In The Reagan Years

A few days ago I posted Gearino’s Informed Look At An N&O Story.

The short of it: Blogger G. D. Gearino, former N&O business editor and columnist, posted on a story in which he first presented the essentials of what N&O reporter Barbara Barrett and her editors told readers about a couple who couldn’t make their mortgage payments.

Gearino followed that with questions the N&O didn’t ask that the readers should have known about.

I want here to share with you an Anon’s comment in response to my post.

Anon’s in italics; my responses are in plain.

This reminds me of the "homelessness" epidemic of the early 1980's. There had been homelessness before Reagan took office but, for the mass (hysteria) media, it was important to make it look like the Gipper had brought back the Great Depression.

The Holy Grail of journalism was to find homeless white families and the search was relentless (in the same manner as they now use Muslims as "bait" to see if they get attacked at NASCAR events).

The homeless were victims, of course. [And} none had substance abuse problems or mental illness. Their lives were perfect during the halcyon days of the Carter administration but instantly turned to kaka in January, 1981.

I remember exactly what Anon’s describing. Not only did MSM “discover an epidemic of homelessness,” but Reagan was “heartless” about it.

Sometimes bad stuff happens to good people. But Gearino is right that there is probably more to this story. With regard to the current mortgage mess, I would guess that a large majority of the "victims" are the architects of their own misery.

When you have a $229K mortgage on a house [the N&O reported the couple bought in 1994 for $150,000], you have done something wrong. The principal is supposed to decline over time. Your house is not a cookie jar to raid.

The couple may have refinanced after their original purchase to add to the house or just cash out a big hunk of money that really wasn’t their’s but owed to the bank.

Interestedly, there was a much more balanced story about some homeless guy in yesterday's (3/8/09) N&O. It did a fair job of explaining the difficulty of getting homeless people to CHOOSE to reintegrate into society.

The truth of the matter is that do-gooders often are frustrated in their attempts to convince the homeless to stop being homeless. Often, hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to get one individual off the streets.

If people want to be urban campers, the do-gooders should simply give them a gift card from REI so they can buy some high quality gear that will keep them warm and sheltered.

I have a friend who says he’s never seen a social or economic problem liberals can’t make worse.

I don’t entirely agree. Civil rights, safer roads, a safe drinking water supply available in almost the entire country are of few of America’s accomplishments in the last century for which liberals deserve great credit.

But they and their leaders – Speaker Pelosi, Reps. Frank, Rangel, Waxman, Sens. Kennedy, Reid, and Dodd – to name just a few – have sure made things worse for most people who pay their bills. And I don’t believe they’ve made things better for the growing millions who live primarily on government “entitlements.”

Folks, if you’re wondering why I didn’t list President Obama among the liberals, it’s because I’m not sure whether he’s a liberal or worse, a leftist or what some in Western Europe call a “soft Marxist.”

Thank you Anon for your comment.


Anonymous said...

What I do not understand is how liberal Democrats get away with making outrageously stupid statements. The other night I heard a commentator say that every minute some 2,00 people are being evicted from their homes. Even if that were true (I do not know of any sheriff that is turning people out at 2 AM), that would mean that it would not take too long before a majority of Americans would be homeless. Yet, that figure along with another one that states a high number of people who are turned away from receiving medical care because they do not have insurance (another falsehood since hospitals are required to treat people whether they can pay or not)are bandied about as the gospel truth.
My guess is that a grave number of those who find themselves in mortgage difficulty is because they 1. bought a house they could not really afford 2. borrowed heavily against their house to pay for other items that they wanted now 3. didn't read the fine print regarding the ARM that they secured for financing 0r 4. any of a combination of the above. While there are those who find themselves in a pickle because they have lost their jobs, the fact is that any mortgage company will accept some monies (they don't want to be the holders of an empty home) as payment, even if it is not the entire amount due. Whether those who are behind actually contact their mortgage company is a whole other issue - my guess is that most just hope that it is problem that will go waya and so ignore it. Then, they wind up with real problems.

Frankly, I do not have a whole lot of sympathy for those who fall into categores 1-4. It annoys me no end that the COngress and Obama feel no compunction about helping foolish people at the expense of those of us who bought a house we could afford, paid our bills regularly and on time, and did not live beyond our means. We have seen our net worth decline now by 2/3ds - as of today since bank stocks continue to slide (and our bank is one of the few that is in good shape). It seems that we are well on our way toward becomming a socialist state. What wealth is not wiped out due to faulty lending will be taken in taxes by the government. There will be no incentive to acquire wealth to pass on to one's heirs. Without that, there will be little if any desire on the part of many to invest in business growth. Instead we will become a nation that spends more than it takes in on substandard care that will be have been mandated by a government that has promised cradle to grave care.

Anonymous said...

Following up on my previous post - one of the wire services has a report that one in every 50 children will face being homeles this year - from a study done by a group National Center on Family Homelessness. Does anyone question the findings of such groups? It seems that the figures are taken as carved in stone. Might it just be that said organization needs to produce such a figure in order to justify its existence?

Anonymous said...

CKS at noon

You pretty much answered your own question. So much of what is presented as news is really content offered by interested parties who want to stampede us into doing something (which almost always involves some sort of cost to us and some gain to those who would stampede us). Look under "S" for stimulus package and "G" for global warming.

When was the last time that a group which seeks to fight some problem provided survey or study data which revealed the problem is not so great as imagined? Or provided the happy news that it was "going out of business" because the problem had been eliminated?

With all the doom and gloom and risk that the media tell me I face, I am shocked that I have yet to succumb to "Mad Cow" disease, avian flu, AIDS, killer bees, global warming, terrorism, shooting myself with my own handgun by accident, lead poisoning, brain cancer from my cellphone, being hit in the head by a crap-sicle that falls from a plane, or getting smushed by a meteorite.

I guess I'm just some sort of statitical outlier in this horrible world we inhabit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:00

Thank you for the reminder (as I recover from the flu) how lucky I am. There must be some way that one can leverage the flu to get government funds - guess I need to establish an advocacy group to that end.