NBC's Mitchell Ignores Causes of Housing Woes

     To know where you’re going, it’s probably a good idea to know how you got to where you are.


     NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell featured both Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s solutions to the nation’s housing woes on the March 25 “NBC Nightly News.”


     “Clinton was the first of the two to sound alarms about the subprime mess with a plan a year ago,” Mitchell said. “Obama followed a week later with a call for a summit. Since then both have gotten more specific.”


     Mitchell explored how both Democrats would approach the problem, but neglected to dwell on what caused the crisis in the first place. However, there are some who blame Mitchell’s husband, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, for getting us into the “subprime mess.”


      Mitchell’s colleague, CNBC “Closing Bell” host Maria Bartiromo, has blamed events that occurred under Greenspan’s watch for the current woes.


     “I really don’t think you can blame Ben Bernanke for this, Tim,” Bartiromo said on NBC’s March 23 “Meet the Press.” “You know, I think that he is, as Erin said, throwing the kitchen sink, doing a lot at this point. And remember, he’s a new chairman. You know, so what was put in place before he was actually in this role has set us up for this.”


     Greenspan even touted subprime adjustable rate mortgages, now a “mess” according to Mitchell, in February 2004. He suggested they might be a “good deal,” according to the June 23, 2004, USA Today.


     Mitchell compared the plans of Obama and Clinton but did not evaluate the consequences of the proposals.


     “In addition to her $30-billion bailout, Clinton has called for a 90-day freeze on foreclosures and a five-year rate freeze on subprime loans,” Mitchell said. “Obama’s fund [is] $10 billion, a third the size of Clinton’s. And he disagrees with Clinton’s five-year freeze on subprime loan rates.”


     Benchmark Financial economist Jerry Bowyer warned of chaos should Clinton’s ideas become law.


     “It would be a trigger event which would set off chaos in every financial market of consequence on planet Earth and would be a disaster for the U.S. economy,” Bowyer told the Business & Media Institute in a March 12 story.


     Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz.) has a different idea about the housing crisis and NBC covered that as well. He explained his position in a speech earlier the same day.


    “I will not play election-year politics with the housing crisis,” said McCain. “It’s not the job of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they’re big banks or small borrowers.”