An Investor's Business Daily editorial stated, "Starting in the early 1990s," Rep. Barney Frank "(and other Democrats) stood athwart efforts by regulators, Congress and the White House to get the runaway housing market under control." It specified that "[i]n 2002, Frank nixed reforms" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that in 2003, "led by Frank, Democrats stood as a bloc against any changes" that President Bush proposed making to Fannie and Freddie. But in 2002 and 2003, Republicans controlled the House and could have passed legislation regarding Fannie and Freddie in the House without the support of Frank or any other Democrats.
During his speech at CPAC, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed: "Congressman [Barney] Frank's definition of affordable housing is you get a house that you don't have to pay for, that everybody else in the neighborhood will pay for. And why? Well, because it's unfair that some people can have a house and some people can't. See, it's just unfair." In fact, Frank has advocated for the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than advocating for, as Limbaugh suggested, universal home ownership.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "the Democrats in charge of the finance committees" resisted efforts by the Bush administration to regulate the mortgage industry and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in particular. In fact, it was only after the Democrats did gain control of both "finance committees" in Congress in 2007 that Congress passed legislation strengthening oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson allowed Steve Adubato to misrepresent President Obama's February 24 address to Congress in order to claim that Obama engaged in "class warfare." After Adubato suggested that Obama did not refer to people who "bought houses they shouldn't have bought because they can't afford them," Carlson responded: "Good point." In fact, contrary to Adubato's suggestion, Obama did refer to people who "bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway."
On CNBC's The Call, while discussing the Obama administration's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, Larry Kudlow -- echoing remarks by Rep. John Boehner -- claimed that "the people who win here are Fannie and Freddie. The Americans who paid their taxes on time and their mortgages on time get hurt." However, as economist Paul Krugman noted: "[T]he government took over F&F months ago."
Twice on February 20, MSNBC promoted Rick Santelli's rant the previous day over President Obama's proposed foreclosure reduction plan, which Santelli said "promot[es] bad behavior" and "subsidiz[es] the losers' mortgages." In neither case did MSNBC provide any substantive response to those criticisms.
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On MSNBC, Pat Buchanan perpetuated the myth that government efforts to expand affordable housing to underserved communities caused the financial crisis, a charge that has frequently taken the form of attacks on the Community Reinvestment Act. In fact, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has stated: "Our own experience with CRA over more than 30 years and recent analysis of available data, including data on subprime loan performance, runs counter to the charge that CRA was at the root of, or otherwise contributed in any substantive way to, the current mortgage difficulties."
Rush Limbaugh falsely stated that President Obama said "that we all must learn to live within our means and not expect the values of our homes to go up 10, 20 percent over our lifetimes ever again," later adding, "This is what I mean by him talking down the economy." In fact, Obama said that we should "not assume that housing prices are going to go up 20, 30, 40 percent every year" [emphasis added].
On The O'Reilly Factor, Karl Rove falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank "was one of the more prominent opponents of [housing] reform in 2004 and 2005." In fact, Frank supported efforts to enhance regulatory oversight on mortgage brokers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005, and he has long championed policies that emphasize low-income home rentals as opposed to homeownership.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely suggested that Rep. Barney Frank is only now, in the wake of the mortgage crisis, taking the position that the government should focus on the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than enacting policies geared toward universal home ownership. In fact, Frank has long advocated that the government focus on expanding affordable rental housing.
Bloomberg columnist Caroline Baum asserted that "[a]s the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee," before he became chairman in 2007, Rep. Barney Frank "consistently opposed stricter regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." In fact, Frank has supported legislation to strengthen oversight over Fannie and Freddie, both as ranking member and as chairman. Further, Frank advocated for "a bill that would have enhanced the regulatory structure for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" during a hearing from which Baum quoted in the column.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank, "who was supposed to be in charge of oversight, running the House Finance Committee, he didn't do his job because he was ideologically blinded. He wanted to give mortgages to everybody." In fact, Frank has advocated for policies that emphasize low-income home rentals as opposed to homeownership.
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that a homeless woman at President Obama's Fort Myers town hall event asked Obama for a "car" and "a new kitchen." In fact, Henrietta Hughes was simply saying that she needs housing. She stated: "[W]e need something more than a vehicle and parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help."
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren allowed Sen. Lindsey Graham to advance the myth that the economic recovery legislation would "reward ACORN." In fact, neither the House version nor the proposed Senate version mentions ACORN. The false claim is based on a misrepresentation of a provision that would appropriate $4.19 billion for neighborhood stabilization activities, but which would be distributed through competitive processes; ACORN has denied that it is eligible, or plans to apply, for those funds.