Hannity's new false talking point: Obama decided to "take over Fannie, take over Freddie"

››› ››› LILY YAN

Sean Hannity falsely claimed or suggested that the Obama administration acted to "take over Fannie, take over Freddie." In fact, it was the Bush administration that made the decision to "take over" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

On the June 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama acted to "fundamentally... take over Fannie, take over Freddie." In fact, it was the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) under the Bush administration, with the financial support of the Bush Treasury Department, that made the decision to "take over" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

On September 7, 2008, at a joint news conference with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, FHFA Director James B. Lockhart announced that he had placed the companies into conservatorship, a legal process in which a person or entity -- in this case, the FHFA -- is appointed to establish control and oversight of a company to put that company in a sound and solvent condition. As the FHFA noted in a fact sheet released at the time of the announcement:

The Conservator controls and directs the operations of the Company. The Conservator may (1) take over the assets of and operate the Company with all the powers of the shareholders, the directors, and the officers of the Company and conduct all business of the Company; (2) collect all obligations and money due to the Company; (3) perform all functions of the Company which are consistent with the Conservator's appointment; (4) preserve and conserve the assets and property of the Company; and (5) contract for assistance in fulfilling any function, activity, action or duty of the Conservator.

Following Lockhart's announcement, Paulson stated: "I support the Director's decision as necessary and appropriate and had advised him that conservatorship was the only form in which I would commit taxpayer money to the GSEs." He also laid out a series of "additional steps" the Treasury Department was taking "to complement FHFA's decision to place both enterprises in conservatorship," including the purchase of preferred stock in the two companies.

On June 3, Hannity asserted:

[T]here's a point here that we need to discuss, and this is Barack Obama, if we get to the root cause of -- if anyone would have predicted that he was going to accumulate these debt -- this debt, these deficits, that he was going to fundamentally take over GM, take over Chrysler, take over the banks, take over Fannie, take over Freddie, and that he's going to go on an apology tour and then say we're not a Christian nation, these are fundamental -- you know, there's a fundamental foundation of America that we are altering here.

On June 2, Hannity similarly suggested that the Obama administration was responsible for the takeovers of Freddie and Fannie, stating: "So now on the economy, we've got the government taking over car companies and nationalizing banks, and they're taking over Freddie and Fannie."

Media Matters for America has documented a pattern of the media leaving out relevant information about the role of Bush-era policies in discussing the current state of the economy.

From the June 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: But I think, fundamentally, there's a point here that we need to discuss. And that is Barack Obama, if we get to the root cause of -- if anyone would have predicted that he was going to accumulate these debt -- this debt, these deficits; that he was going to fundamentally take over GM, take over Chrysler, take over the banks, take over Fannie, take over Freddie; and that he's going to go on an apology tour and then say we're not a Christian nation, these are fundamental -- you know, there's a fundamental foundation of America that we are altering here.

From the June 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: And we continue now with our "Great American Panel."

All right. So now on the economy, we've got the government taking over car companies and nationalizing banks, and they're taking over Freddie and Fannie. And they've got, you know, a $2 trillion deficit this year, quadrupling it, $10 trillion in the future. I guess this is socialism.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
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