ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm getting that tingling feeling again!!!

The Obamessiah will be generating some additional tingles in the legs of the vapid media stars that cover him. It seems that even the International Herald Tribune (international version of the NY Times) can't even push themselves to assert that the media is objective in its coverage of Obama.

From today:

Media stars will accompany Obama overseas
By Jim Rutenberg
Thursday, July 17, 2008

WASHINGTON: Senator John McCain's trip to Iraq last spring was a low-key affair: With his ordinary retinue of reporters following him abroad, the NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on his arrival in Baghdad from New York, with just two sentences tacked onto the "in other political news" portion of his newscast.

But when Obama heads for Iraq and other locations overseas this summer, Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Obama on successive nights.


The extraordinary coverage of Obama's trip reflects how the candidate remains an object of fascination in the news media, a built-in feature of being the first African-American presidential nominee for a major political party and a relative newcomer to the national stage.
A built in feature of the fact that Obama has a big "D" after his name.

nothing more, nothing less.
News executives say they generally devote the same resources to the candidates. But they do not dispute that Obama has received more coverage this year, not only because of the historic nature of his campaign and his newness to the political scene relative to McCain, but also because of the protracted nature of his primary battle with Clinton, which was at a peak when McCain last went to Iraq.

The imbalance has appeared in various analyses of the news coverage. The Tyndall Report, a news coverage monitoring service that has the broadcast networks as clients, reports that three newscasts by the traditional networks which have a combined audience of more than 20 million people spent 114 minutes covering Obama since June; they spent 48 minutes covering McCain.

I believe Obama had the nomination sown up in June, so the coverage wasn't a result of his battle with Hillary!TM
Friedman said McCain and the Republicans have helped make the visit a bigger story because they have repeatedly questioned Obrama's credentials, keeping a running count of the number of days that have passed since Obama last visited Iraq, in 2006.

The news industry's fascination with Obama has carried over to general-interest magazines, with the candidate landing on considerably more covers in recent months than has McCain. In the last couple of weeks Obama has graced the front of Rolling Stone and, for the second time now, that of Us Weekly (both of which are owned by the company of a prominent Obama supporter, Jann Wenner).
Ned Martel, the deputy editor of Men's Vogue, said, "He's what is called in the magazine world an 'interest driver.' " The magazine put Obama on its cover in 2006 and has recently dispatched the photographer Annie Liebovitz to produce another spread for an upcoming issue. It did do a feature on McCain in 2006 as well; it did not make the cover.

Chuck Todd, the political director for NBC News, said Obama's ability to draw media interest should not be surprising. "This is the way all of the new guys are treated whether it was Ronald Reagan, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush," Todd said. "There's always a candidate who gets more 'new guy' treatment versus the other one, and it's not always positive."

Chuck has a point... But the additional coverage that newcomers get is typically positive for Dukakis (intellectual, professorial, smart-smart-smart!) & Clinton (the comeback kid!!!) and negative for Reagan (he's crazy!!!) or George W. Bush (he's an inexperienced christo-fascist who is crazy!!!).
The large news media contingent that will travel with Obama will be a help if the trip goes wonderfully. But any gaffes will take place before a larger megaphone.

Based on all of the tingling that the media is feeling in various parts of their bodies, I doubt that any gaffes will be covered at all.

Susan Estrich confirms
what everyone already knows in this story about why Obama-McCain are still neck and neck:
No candidate in my lifetime has ever gotten better press coverage, more adoration from the media.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac - Insolvent Insurance Companies?

Are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insolvent insurance companies?

The short answer to that is, who knows?

These entities are at their core insurance companies. They buy mortgages from the mortgage writers and guarantee their payment whether the mortgagee pays or not. That makes them insurance companies.

If they are insurance companies, they need to have reserves to cover loses.

What would an actuary have to say about the state of their reserves?

Damn good question and no one has the answer to that. Why? Because there is no regulation of either of these government created stockholder owned companies. Not even the SEC has any supervisory role over them.

And THAT is why there was such a flurry of activity this week by the Fed, The White House and Congress.

There are trillions of dollars at stake. Should one or the other or both of these companies fail the effects would be catastrophic not just for housing but for the entire economy.

These companies were created and maintained in apparent defiance of actuarial rules. Further they are free of the usual and ordinary audits that insure solvency.

Are they insolvent insurance companies? I do not know. I doubt anyone knows. But someone better find out and put these companies on a sound footing.

Your Co-Conspirator,

Update - Congress just popped $4 billion for these entities. That's some bandaid! How much more are we looking at in the coming months?