A few days ago I wrote a post where I asked if people thought that the media plays a story straight. The over whelming response was, "No, the media does not play it straight with the public."
Frankly, I wasn't surprised. I had seen a perfect example of how the media plays things when my father passed away 21 years ago. I found out that he had died when the local NBC affiliate led their local evening news broadcast with the teaser, "Man Found Frozen in South St. Louis".
Having just sat down to watch the news, I waited while they broke for a commercial break. When they came on they had a picture of a bus that my father had converted into a camper. The camper was parked behind my grandmother's home and my father was staying in the camper while he attended classes at a local community college where he had enrolled to complete prerequisites for mortician's school.
Needless to say, I was devastated to hear that my father had passed, more so that he had "frozen" to death. Well, as you can probably guess, he hadn't frozen to death. He had suffered a severe heart attack and had knocked over the kerosene heater that served to heat the camper. The safety switch turned the heater off and being that it was below zero degrees that night, my father then froze.
I guess that a guy dieing and then freezing doesn't grab your attention as much as a person freezing to death and if you think about it, Channel 5 was TECHNICALLY correct. A man was indeed found frozen in South St. Louis. Either way, my father was still dead, but my point here is that the news media ran with the sensational rather than the more mundane facts of the matter.
And that's part of what they are doing with the sub-prime mortgage mess. It's a much more interesting story to hear when the story has a readily identifiable villain. In this case the "villain" is the evil mortgage broker! Forget the fact that over 1/2 of all US consumers have chosen to utilize the services of a mortgage broker and have now for years or the fact that the mortgage brokers didn't invent, underwrite or fund these programs. That's just not sexy enough!
Who wants to hear about greedy Wall Street types who have padded their pockets at the expense of the general public? That's old news! It's much more "newsworthy" to show Snidely Whiplash foreclosing on some little old lady!
From my point of view, things obviously haven't changed much in the news business. If it bleeds, it leads! No one's going to take the time or effort to examine bills such as HR3915 and make sure that our law makers do the right thing when it comes to regulating mortgage origination, underwriting and funding. Just remember this when you sit down to watch the news tonight!