Rush Limbaugh and KSFO's Lee Rodgers repeated a variation of the claim that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave "5 million illegal aliens" subprime loans that they have not paid back. Quinn & Rose's Jim Quinn also cited the 5 million statistic without citing a source for the figure. None of these radio hosts noted that HUD has reportedly stated that this statistic is false.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed that Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank Project, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 "[b]ecause he came up with a way to offer loans to poor people who couldn't pay them back." But Grameen Bank's monthly report for August 2008 shows a repayment rate of 98.08 percent.
His weekend program is awash in misinformation. Rachel Sklar takes a closer look at the conspiracy theories and erroneous claims that Huckabee highlighted. She writes:
Did you know that the recent financial crisis could actually be the result of economic terrorism? Or that Congress took off after the bailout vote to get an early jump on Christmas shopping? Or that the Chinese might be drilling off the coast of Florida right now?
The Los Angeles Times reported that Sen. John McCain "advocated for his tax cuts and his plan to balance the budget by 'the end of my term in office.' " But the Times did not note, as it has previously reported, that McCain has repeatedly shifted on his time frame for balancing the budget, originally claiming he would balance the budget in four years, then pledging to do so in eight years, before reversing himself again to return to the four-year pledge.
On MSNBC Live, McClatchy's Steven Thomma asserted that Sen. John McCain will likely attack Sen. Barack Obama "as a tax-raiser, someone who'll take money out of your pocket at the very moment you don't want it to happen." Neither Thomma nor Politico's David Mark, who agreed with Thomma's assessment, noted that claims that Obama will raise taxes and "take money out of your pocket" misrepresent Obama's tax plan.
Conservative and other media figures -- echoing a reported strategy on the part of Republicans -- have attempted to lay blame for the financial crisis on proponents of the expansion of affordable housing. Those attacks are premised on several myths and falsehoods.
On Hannity & Colmes, The Wall Street Journal's John Fund falsely claimed that ACORN "almost got a slush fund in the housing bailout bill a few weeks ago." In fact, neither the September draft proposal nor the final version of the bill contained any language mentioning ACORN.
On his radio show, Neal Boortz baselessly suggested that Rep. Barney Frank "was protecting Fannie Mae for about seven or eight years in the 1990s because his lover, his boyfriend was working for Fannie Mae, pushing out these subprime mortgage packages." Boortz provided no evidence to support his suggestion that Frank allowed his personal relationship to affect his work in Congress. In fact, Frank repeatedly took actions over the years to strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The New York Times uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain saying of Sen. Barack Obama: "[A]s recently as September of last year he said that subprime loans had been, quote, a good idea." The article did not mention that McCain was distorting Obama's comments from a September 2007 speech, as several media outlets -- including the Times -- noted when McCain previously made the same accusation against Obama.
On The O'Reilly Factor and in a FoxNews.com article, Bill Sammon suggested that Rep. Barney Frank allowed his relationship in the 1990s with Herb Moses, a Fannie Mae official at the time, to improperly influence his conduct as a member of the House Financial Services Committee. However, in his article, Sammon cited only an anonymous Republican congressional staffer and a member of the conservative Media Research Center. Sammon also misrepresented Frank's record by reporting that Frank "spent years blocking GOP lawmakers from imposing tougher regulations" on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without noting that during the period in question, Frank supported legislation to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and create a government regulatory agency that would oversee some aspects of the company.
The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported that Judy Black, whom he identified as "a policy director (read: lead lobbyist) for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's DC arm" and "the wife of McCain strategist Charlie Black," forwarded a PowerPoint presentation on the "campaign contributions that Fannie and Freddie provided to leading Democratic members of Congress." But Ambinder did not point out that Charlie Black has lobbied for Freddie Mac.
On the Fox News special Saving Our Economy, Bret Baier repeated or failed to challenge numerous false assertions about the role of affordable housing initiatives in the financial crisis and Democratic responses to the crisis.
Brokaw: "Senator, we have one minute for discussion here."
One minute? To discuss how to fix the economy? Seems like maybe they'll need more time ...
Well, not no audience, technically. But given the unfolding blockbuster business news story, you'd think FBN would see a nice extended spike in viewers. Y'know, like CNBC.
Instead, FBN's viewership remains stuck in the mid-five figures while CNBS has flirted wtih 1 million viewers during key moments in the bailout crisis.
NBC correspondent John Yang falsely asserted, "At current rates, analysts say Social Security will run out of money by 2041." Later, Yang uncritically aired a clip of Sen. John McCain claiming, "The Social Security system is going to go broke; it will not be there for present-day men and women who are working." In fact, the Social Security program will not "run out of money" in 2041; after that point, it is projected that without a change in the law, the program will be able to cover 78 percent of scheduled benefits immediately thereafter, according to the 2008 Social Security trustees' report.