| In an editorial this morning, the Hartford Courant addresses this week's "AP Impact" story on the "secret" Congressional testimony of a Countrywide official and concludes that despite the hyperventilating media coverage, there was "nothing new" revealed, and that Sen. Dodd did not receive "special treatment":
No matter how badly Mr. Dodd mishandled this long-running issue from the get-go, especially by waiting too long to release his mortgage documents, the evidence supports him. The senator and his wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, negotiated interest rates and terms widely available in the marketplace when they refinanced the two homes. That's not special treatment.
Dodd may not have received "special treatment" by Countrywide, but what about by the traditional media in its coverage of the story?
William Cibes has an op-ed in today's Courant comparing Dodd's mortgages to Gov. Rell's, and wondering why the media has so been so transfixed on the former (Google news has indexed 5,380 stories about "Dodd mortgage" since 2008):
For more than a year, accusations have been flung at Dodd for supposedly getting a "sweetheart mortgage deal" when he refinanced his homes in 2003. To hear some people talk, the rates must have been real doozies - far below what an ordinary citizen would have been able to obtain in that market, and much lower than the rate on the Rell mortgage. One would think that no professional reporter could have failed to check the evidence before embroiling the senator in a sleazy intrigue.
So it must come as a real shock to learn that Rell's interest rates were as low or lower than Dodd's....
Now that it's clear that there are no meaningful differences between the rates the Rells and the Dodds secured on their respective mortgages, the partisan contrivance of a phony scandal melts away. The perpetrators of the "sweetheart deal" narrative owe Chris Dodd an apology. Fair is fair.
Of course, zombies don't die easily, especially when they are nourished by a national right-wing noise machine eagerly hand-feeding them reporters' brains.
David Fiderer at HuffPo takes on the AP reporter who wrote this week's story on the "secret testimony" of former Countrywide executive Robert Feinberg, and highlights the role that Republican Congressman Darell Issa has played in orchestrating the attack on Dodd since last year:
Any journalist who had done his homework would have questioned Issa about his decision to have Feinberg do a rerun of his testimony in secret last month. Issa chose to have Feinberg testify one day before testifying for the Senate Ethics Committee, three months after Issa's report was completed, and six months after Feinberg first testified the same information for Issa. In other words, any competent reporter would have questioned whether Feinberg's testimony to Issa was, in fact, real news. Any journalist with common sense would have suspected that Issa's intent was to create a media distraction at a critical juncture of legislative negotiations, and would have addressed such a possibility in his reporting. Larry Margasak of the Associated Press left readers with the impression that Feinberg's testimony was brand new information.
Margasak's unacknowledged rehashing of Feinberg's testimony touches on the real scandal surrounding the Countywide VIP loan story. He and other mainstream reporters are unwilling to report facts that undercut the false premise of their narrative. It's as if they recount demands to investigate Obama's birth certificate, but they never bother to read the actual birth certificate.