While CNN reports that Americans are split evenly (49% for, 48% against) on bailing out people who paid to much for real estate, the newsroom at the Washington Post is 100% behind the measure judging from their front-page hatchet job today.
The very first sentence of the piece betrays the Post’s bias when the reporter describes the House bill as “ambitious.” Deep in the story it is reported that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will help only 500,000 people. But the Post fails to report that the bill’s proponents sold the plan as helping more than 2 million Americans. The Post also low balls the cost of the bill, pegging it at $1.7 billion. But this leaves out another billion dollars in administrative and counseling costs.
The most dishonest part of the story though is this paragraph:
The Bush administration has tried to help such borrowers by urging banks to reduce their mortgage debt. The administration also has eased eligibility standards so borrowers who have missed a few payments can qualify for cheaper loans insured by the federal government through the FHA. But those initiatives have helped relatively few families.
The Post makes no mention of the Treasury Department’s Hope Now program, which has assisted 500,000 homeowners in the first quarter of 2008 alone, and more than 2 million homeowners since July 2007.
So to recap, in this article the Post:
- Cheerleads for a government bailout.
- Exaggerates the scope of people who will be helped.
- Low balls the cost of the government intervention.
- Completely fails to report on existing, successful, unobtrusive government efforts to mediate the problem that have already helped millions more people than the new government program.