The Bushies are having a hysterical hissy-fit because the NYT, after giving Bush a free ride for 7 1/2 of his 8 years in the White House, finally decided to do some semi-legitimate reporting. I didn't have time to write about this yesterday but I intended to slap the reporters' wrists for going easy on him. For instance:
From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.
He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.
It's true as far as it goes but it also puts the absolute best spin possible on a total fiasco by claiming - inaccurately - that it was Our Corporate Poster Boy-in-Chief's determination to put people into homes who'd never had them before that caused the "lax lending standards". In order to accept that thesis, you'd have to come up with completely different explanations of why he let corporate swindlers alone, why he left corporations alone who continually ignored safety regulations, pollution regulations, and health regulations, why he let corporations alone when they dodged taxes, cheated and/or gouged consumers, and so on.
The only Bush "philosophy" (kind of a high-falutin' word to use when what we're talking about is corruption, greed and laissez-faire blindness to the point of self-immolation) that's relevant here is the one that says "any form of restriction on capitalism is socialism and a Very Bad Thing". The Ownership Society Scam, which is what Becker, Stolberg, and Labaton are referring to, was never anything but a Heritage Foundation-born PR ploy to justify privatizing (and thus killing) Social Security while opening up a whole new cadre of suckers for Wall Street to fleece. The idea that Bush, the compassionate conservative humanitarian *gag*, turned his back on mortgage manipulations and fraud out of his concern for the "little people" would be laughable if it wasn't so monstrously and demonstrably a self-serving LIE.
A lie that the NYT's business reporters (Bush Economy cheerleaders up to now, every one of them, Stolberg being possibly the worst) swallowed whole and spat out as if it were the word of god herself for the last 8 years, never (or hardly ever) a question on their pearl-like lips.
But even this considerably finessed Best Possible Scenario stung Bush's thin skin like a Rocky Mountain wasp. Politico's Mike Allen, a reliable Bush mouthpiece, dutifully reports today on an email from Dana "I know I have a brain, I just can't find it" Perino slamming the three reporters for - I'm trying not to choke as I write this - "gross negligence".
The White House on Sunday issued a blistering 500-word response to a scathing 5,000-word article on the front page of Sunday's New York Times that says President Bush and his style and philosophy of governing played a direct role in the mortgage meltdown that's crippling the nation's economy.
The response accused the nation's largest Sunday paper of "gross negligence."
"The Times' 'reporting' in this story amounted to finding selected quotes to support a story the reporters fully intended to write from the onset, while disregarding anything that didn't fit their point of view," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said in an e-mailed statement.
Not content with a mere WH email, Perino, a truly Rove-trained mannequin, then orchestrated an entire document devoted to "debunking" the NYT's relatively mild and fairly well-researched dope-slap.
In an unusual double-header, The White House later issued a document headlined, "Setting the Record Straight: The Three Most Egregious Claims In The New York Times Article On The Housing Crisis."
Allen, like the good little GOP hack he is, promptly published it. I'm not going to make that mistake (click the link above if you've got a strong stomach) but here's a tiny slice just to give you the flavor of the Bubble the Bush White House lives in. Still.
"The Times' 'reporting' in this story amounted to finding selected quotes to support a story the reporters fully intended to write from the onset, while disregarding anything that didn't fit their point of view. To prove the point, when they filed their story, NYT reporters were completely unfamiliar with the president's prime time address to the nation where he laid out in detail all of the causes of the housing and financial crises. For example, the president highlighted a factor that economists agree on: that the most significant factor leading to the housing crisis was cheap money flowing into the U.S. from rest of the world, so that there was no natural restraint on flush lenders to push loans on Americans in risky ways. This flow of funds into the U.S. was unprecedented. And because it was unprecedented, the conditions it created presented unprecedented questions for policymakers.
"In his address the president also explained in detail the failure of financial institutions to perform normal and necessary due diligence in creating, buying and selling new financial products -- a problem that almost no one saw as it was happening.
"That the NYT ignored such an important economic speech to the American people and the complex causes of the crises is gross negligence.
"Important economic speech"? It was incomprehensible and incoherent. Nothing he said made any sense and there are, so far as I know, ZERO economists claiming the mortgage crisis was precipitated by a flood of foreign money. (WTF?) That was some lame excuse Dan Bartlett's propaganda shop came up with but as soon as it saw the light of day it laid there on the table like a palpitating lump of liposuctioned fat, quivering, ugly, unconvincing. It's like saying we lost bin Laden at Tora Bora because a sudden influx of Sauron's orcs crossed the mountains and blocked the pass.
Apparently, it's still the best they've got since once again they're wheeling it out on its sick bed for the eddification and enlightenment of any morons stupid enough to buy a hunk.
It's amazing to me that these people think they have the right to be outraged about anything after the mess Bush has made. They're obviously not used to the news media making even the lamest of attempts to do its job. They've been spoiled rotten by the way the corporate press replaced journalism (you know, fact-checking and stuff) with he said/she said stenography just so Bush's feelings wouldn't be hurt. Now that they're actually asking occasional timid questions and *gasp* doubting the Great God Bush, Perino & Co go ballistic.
I got news for you, Dana. Your boss LIED US INTO A WAR because he wanted his oil buddies to make a lot of money. Millions of people, troops as well as innocent civilians, have died or been maimed because of what was little more than an illegal land grab, and you have NO RIGHT to outrage. None. Zilch. Your boss should have been t'd & f'd and then run down Conn Ave on a rail, and you all ought to consider yourselves lucky you're not in jail and keep your whining mouths shut. It isn't too late for a little rough justice, you know.
As for you, Mike, the next time Perino sends you an email about how badly the media is treating her and her Dear Leader, you'd be best advised to hit DELETE and pretend you never got it. It's your reputation that's on the line, you know, and buddy, it's hanging by an old worn thread as it is.