The Washington Post responded to yesterday's retirement announcement by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) today with not one but two well-placed positive stories. "Longtime lawmaker brokered critical deals as skilled negotiator," gushed the subheader to Paul Kane's 20-paragraph page A1 article.
"Fearlessly, Frank made his mark," blared the below-the-fold Style section front page article by Robert Kaiser. "Longtime lawmaker was one of the few to display a personality," the subheader approvingly noted.
New York Times editorial board member, and former Times reporter, David Firestone is filling in for Andrew Rosenthal this week at the paper’s opinion blog The Loyal Opposition. He has apparently been tasked to make Rosenthal seem balanced by comparison, judging by his Monday posting with the laugh-line headline “Barney Frank, Moderate.”
Firestone was paying tribute to liberal Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who has represented the Fourth District in southern Massachusetts for the past 30 years and is retiring now, unwilling to stomach the challenge of running in a redrawn district. Firestone termed Frank, who has earned a lifetime rating of 4 out of a possible 100 from the American Conservative Union, a “centrist.” But if Barney Frank isn’t a liberal, than who in Congress is?
“The first line in Barney Frank’s political epitaph,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes predicted on Monday’s FNC Special Report upon news the longtime liberal Democratic Congressman won’t seek re-election, will “be the housing crisis.” But that isn’t what those who decide the first draft of history considered relevant.
ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as they instead touted him as “one of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill” (ABC), as “the Congressman who co-authored the overhaul of financial regulations after the crash” (CBS) and all noted his sexual orientation. NBC’s Brian Williams: “Among his legacies – besides his legendary sharp tongue – he was the first Member of Congress to publically acknowledge he was gay back in 1987.”
Congressman Barney Frank has been a liberal media darling for decades. But one of the most memorable media pitches for gay marriage came on December 31, 1992, when liberals were still hopeful after the election of Bill Clinton.
ABC's Prime Time Live ended its last program of the year with a song -- celebrities singing "Winter Wonderland." At the part where the song gets to Parson Brown and asking if can marry someone, ABC recruited Barney Frank and his then-partner Herb Moses to chime in. (Moses is the one that Frank recommended for hiring at Fannie Mae.) Video follows:
Reporting on Monday morning that Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was not seeking re-election, CNN's political team whitewashed his controversial tenure in office with some fond words like "titan," "larger-than-life," and "teacher at heart."
CNN's Joe Johns lauded Frank's skills as a teacher -- especially as the first openly-gay congressman. "He's taught this country so much about the gay community in the United States and what it means to be an openly gay member of Congress. A leader, in fact, on Capitol Hill," Johns gushed.
Political editor Mark Preston praised Frank as a "titan" of financial sector matters in Congress while saying nothing of the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under his oversight. While noting that Frank was tough to deal with, Preston added that he was "one of the best debaters in Congress" and "always the smartest person in the room."
If you only read Thursday's coverage of Bank of America's decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee by Associated Press Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi, you would have no idea that last year's "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" triggered BofA's decision. The legislation gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit debit card interchange fees. The Fed's limit -- 21 cents plus 0.5% of each purchase transaction -- basically cut the banks' fees by about half from their pre-Dodd-Frank level. CardHub.com estimates that the cap will reduce banks' fee income by $9.4 billion annually.
Ms. Choi only cited the existence of "a new rule" in her opening paragraph. She then waited until the ninth paragraph to vaguely cite the existence of "a regulation." It hardly seems accidental that most news consumers who didn't follow the fee fight a year ago will probably have the impression that banks are driving the fee increases, as the following excerpt will demonstrate (bolds are mine):
While Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was calling for troop withdrawal in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for that military spending to go to deficit reduction, CNN's Piers Morgan would not press him about U.S. military action in Libya – a decision authorized by Democrat President Obama.
Frank has been a champion of cutting the defense budget and continued his screed Tuesday night, calling for a $200 billion-a-year cut on military spending. He even criticized Obama's decision to leave troops in Iraq. However, he was not asked about Libya, and did not comment on it.
Ever-garrulous curmudgeon Barney Frank was memorably expressive during an appearance on MSNBC last night.
The high-ranking House Democrat was talking with Rachel Maddow about Standard & Poor's downgrade of US credit, with Frank criticizing rating agencies for claiming mortgage-backed securities were "wonderful stuff" prior to the financial collapse in 2008 when the investments were "crap." (video clip after page break)
Both House Democrats and Republicans opposed the debt ceiling compromise, but CNN's Don Lemon gave softball interviews to three Democrat congressmen who voted against the bill, while scrutinizing Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) for his opposition.
"Why the change of heart, Congressman?" the CNN host asked Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) Tuesday on his decision to switch his vote to no. Lemon let him explain his vote and even asked if Frank's colleagues had read the bill before supporting it. "She [Pelosi] came out and supported it. But do you think your colleagues actually read the bill?" he asked Frank.
Barney Frank has to be the biggest sourpuss in Congress. The liberal representative from Massachusetts has made an art form out of ripping out his ear piece and abruptly ending an interview. This testy feller could pick a fight in a phone booth.
So Frank would be the last person you'd expect, in commenting on the debt ceiling deal, to break out a classic line from comedian Henny Youngman. Yet that's exactly what Barney did on Morning Joe today, in explaining why he was supporting a bill that contains much he doesn't like.
View video after the jump.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has admitted that he “helped his ex-lover land a lucrative post with Fannie Mae in the early 1990s while the Newton Democrat was on a committee that regulated the lending giant,” the Boston Herald reported on May 26.
Frank dismissed questions about the “potential ethical conflict,” of regulating Fannie Mae while Herb Moses, whom Frank has called his “spouse,” worked there from 1991 through 1998.
The New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgensen was the first to report Frank’s role in helping Moses get the job at Fannie Mae, according to the Herald. The Boston paper also reported that in a May 24, radio interview on WBUR’s “Fresh Air,” Morgensen said Fannie Mae “rolled out the red carpet” for Moses to “curry favor with Frank and other members of the Financial Services Committee."
If you need any more evidence of the blatant animus that a mainstream newspaper like the Boston Globe can have for conservative Republicans, here you go. Compare the following:
- Sean Bielat was the Republican challenger to Rep. Barney Frank in the 4th Congressional District in Massachusetts last November. While spending ten months to run for the seat, he paid himself a salary of $10,000.
- Mac D’Alessandro, a self-identified "progressive Democrat," was a primary challenger in the 9th District. The Globe heartily endorsed D'Alessandro, a "public-interest attorney," "community activist," and political director for the SIEU. Even though his campaign barely lasted five months (he lost the primary), he collected stipends totaling nearly $27,000.