Monday, September 8, 2008

McClatchy, Huff Post Wrong About Palin's First "Gaffe"

So, it's being reported today that GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin has made her "first major gaffe." In fact, it was NOT a gaffe at all. Both McClatchy Newspapers and the Huffington Post got it wrong. UPDATE: The Swamp Gets It Wrong, Too Sam Stein makes this erroneous report on the Huffington Post today: Speaking before voters in Colorado Springs, the Republican vice presidential nominee claimed that lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers." The companies, as McClatchy [Newspapers] reported, "aren't taxpayer funded but operate as private companies. The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization." [Source: Huff Post] The McClatchy article referenced above IS WRONG. It was written by Kevin G. Hall, who apparently just took as a matter of faith the idea that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "aren't taxpayer funded." Hall is dead wrong. But Mr. Stein was slick. He wrote, "Gov. Sarah Palin made her first potentially major gaffe..." Notice the word "potentially." Perhaps Mr. Stein, even as he wrote his piece, suspected that there might be more to the story than met his eye. It's too bad he didn't let his eye scan just a few more Google searches. He would have found the following, from Rob Alford at the History News Network: The Federal National Mortgage Association, nicknamed Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation, nicknamed Freddie Mac, have operated since 1968 as government sponsored enterprises (GSEs). This means that, although the two companies are privately owned and operated by shareholders, they are protected financially by the support of the Federal Government. [Source] Let's translate that for Kevin G. Hall: "Protected financially by the support of the Federal Government" means that federal tax dollars - from taxpayers - support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Hall got it half right when he wrote that they "operate as private companies," but he missed the little details about (a) being protected financially by the US Government and (b) operating for 40 years as government sponsored enterprises. So, as to Sarah Palin's supposed "gaffe," we've just learned that it really was NOT a gaffe at all. NOTE TO McCLATCHY: Sit down with Mr. Hall and teach him how to do basic research. NOTE TO HUFF POST: Sit down with Mr. Stein and teach him how to do basic research.