Does ABC’s Brian Ross have it in for Obama?

Jeepers. Brian Ross of ABC News broke the Reverend Wright story back on March 13. (And not, as noted, by Bill O’Reilly as Billo The Clown brays.) And, as I’ve noted, Brian Ross has a tendency to act as a GOP operative in a particularly sleazy way for a “journalist.”


So what’s today’s entry in Ross’ “hit” parade?

Uh …

Emanuel Was Director Of Freddie Mac During Scandal
New Obama Chief of Staff, Others on Board, Missed “Red Flags” of Alleged Fraud Scheme
November 7, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot “red flags,” according to government reports reviewed by

According to a complaint later filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freddie Mac, known formally as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002.

Emanuel was not named in the SEC complaint (click here to read) but the entire board was later accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) (click here to read) of having “failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention.”

And, a little further down, this bit of sleaze (and note that most economists DON’T blame Freddie Mac for the meltdown … they blame the big mortgage derivatives pigpen that the big banks, the Bear Sterns, the Lehman Brothers, the Merril Lynches were playing in):

… The actions by Freddie Mac are cited by some economists as the beginning of the country’s economic meltdown.

The federal government this year was forced to take over Freddie Mac and a sister federal mortgage agency, Fannie Mae, pledging at least $200 billion in public funds.

Freddie Mac records have been subpoenaed by the Justice Department as part of its investigation of the suspect accounting procedures.

Emanuel was named to the Freddie Mac board by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and resigned his position when he ran for Congress in May, 2001….

Uh, isn’t this a variation on the old “Bill Clinton DID IT!” mantra of the fixated Right?


ABC’s tabloid-style guilt-by-association (literally) illustration

Worse, it is quite a stretch to move from 2001 to 2008, and to falsely affix (by sleazy implication) blame for the economic meltdown on Rahm Emmanuel.

So, from the internal evidence, what can we surmise?

a. That Brian Ross HAS an agenda.

b. That he’s less concerned with the “charge” than with the timing, and wants to toss a nightstick through the spokes of the Obama bicycle before it can get up to speed.

c. That the only way to make the charge stick is by using TWO false logickal (sic) linkages to create a syllogism that any self-respecting journalist — or, indeed, any critical thinker — would reject out of hand:

  1. Rahm Emmanuel’s service of the Freddie Mac board* in 2000-2001 was the reason for Freddie Mac’s scandal in 2008, and
  2. Freddie Mac’s scandal caused the economic meltdown.
  3. THEREFORE, Rahm Emmanuel caused the economic meltdown.

[* NOTE: The argument also uses the classical fallacy of the distributed middle, viz. SOME board members (Rahm Emmanuel) equals ALL board members. (“New Obama Chief of Staff, Others on Board, Missed “Red Flags” of Alleged Fraud Scheme“). Some does not equal ALL. — HW]

d. That Brian Ross should be fired by any reputable news organization for having had the chutzpah to try floating sleaze like this for the Right wing media manipulators. (See “ABC = KKK?” 26 April)

The USUAL SUSPECTS weighed in in another of those coordinated blog swarms that Michael Goldfarb specializes in for his boss, William Kristol … er, currently John McCain, maybe? (I wonder if he’s back to the Weekly Standard blog after his leave of absence, I wonder?)


But watch: they’ve shoved this non-issue into the media whirlpool without news justification, OTHER than to harm the new Administration a-borning. This was what they pulled on Clinton. They never allowed him to actually take office. (They pursued the “Whitewater” non-scandal until they actually FOUND a scandal and impeached him. Think of what they stole from us during those eight years.)

Now, is anyone going to stand up and say: “Brian Ross, you are NOT behaving as a journalist. If you want to work for the Heritage Foundation, or researching for Michelle Malkin, go ahead. But don’t pretend that you aren’t just another political hack — prizes or no.”?

The Reverend Wright attack seemed, with evidence, to have been an intentional attempt to derail Obama’s candidacy. Now, the Rahm Emmanuel attack is seen to fit that pattern as an intentional attempt to derail Obama’s presidency.

Good going Brian Ross. Let’s just hope nobody figures out what you’re up to.

It’s getting hard to find work in the news business these days.



crossposted from his vorpal sword

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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2 Responses to Does ABC’s Brian Ross have it in for Obama?

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    For what it’s worth, my recollection of the exact finding about Freddie Mac accounting is that it brought profits in low in order to flatten out the peaks and valleys from a volatile market. The numbers were faulted, but not in any way that pumped things up unrealistically. All of that came from the private sector component of the mortgage industry. Their own abuses caused the private sector players to self destruct a year ago or so, leaving only Fannie, Freddie, and Ginnie to try to shoulder the entire weight of housing finance since then.Whatever the answer to this crises turns out to be, it cannot be unrestricted free markets for mortgages because that’s what just brough the world economy to its knees.

  2. Hart Williams says:

    I don’t disagree, Darryl. And I think that we agree that Brian Ross’ suspiciously-timed piece had doodley-squat to do with the realities of the meltdown but everything to do with launching a faux scandal. Or, is that fox scandal™?