POLITICS
11/13/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McClatchy Bluntly Shoots Down Fannie/Freddie Myths

One gets so inured to the silly way of doing business in the media, where the obsessive need to "balance" the scales on any given topic has overwhelmed the need to actually assert that truth does tend to accrue to one side in a dispute of fact. That's why it's so heartening to see somebody, in this case, McClatchy Newspapers, writing ledes like this, in a story entitled, plainly, "Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis":

As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.

And from there, rather than decorate their article with a bunch of rhetorical nonsense designed to level the playing-field for a side that's determined not to play, the reporters here -- David Goldstein and Kevin G. Hall -- simply lay out evidence that backs up their claim. Moreover, despite having named two disputants to their case, in this case Neil Cavuto and Charles Krauthammer, Goldstein and Hall prove themselves resistant to the idea that status somehow equates to authority, and points out where the other side is wrong.

What can I say? It turns out this sort of journalism is possible!