Watching the mainstream news media talk about the recession, one would be hard-pressed to find any actual foreclosed homeowners who have been interviewed. Dozens of economists (up to ten at a time on some stations) are featured, while no one who has lost a home or a job makes an appearance. In fact, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers has been the only time the news has shown human beings leaving a job that shut down.
What does this mean? Why is the media so reluctant to talk to the families and workers who are being most affected by the collapse of the economy? One reason is that economists provide great propaganda for the government’s bailout packages, of course. But more importantly, they can be trusted not to say the wrong things or point out that fraud and government manipulation have fueled the housing market more anything else.
Of course there are people out there facing foreclosure. And of course they would not be allowed on any mainstream news network. Average people may say things that are far from the politically correct, government and bank approved line, whereas the few lucky economists who make it onto either local or national news programs will say whatever is required so that they are invited back on.
The mortgage lenders and financial interests would not want an actual homeowner who was actually foreclosed on and actually evicted to describe any of the actual foreclosure process in front of other people who may be in similar situations. For one thing, personal financial issues are still taboo in American society, whereas the news is all to happy to discuss the latest celebrity or political sex scandal and what will be the next meaningless statistics indicating the decline of society.
Many of the people who fall into foreclosure do so because of financial hardships which may be quite embarrassing. Who wants to go on TV and admit to being “losers” who have difficulty holding a job or run a successful business? And no one wants to become the next “Joe the Plumber,” with media investigators delving more deeply into the personal and financial life of one citizen than they do with all of the politicians in Washington. Failing in America is not allowed for the common man. So the only people willing to talk to reporters about their foreclosure may be the victims of fraud or abuse.
What if the borrowers were the victims of outright mortgage fraud from beginning to end on their loan? Almost all fraudulent subprime loans started with origination company, possibly a mortgage lender specializing in using Wall Street lines of credit to provide loans to people who had no credit, jobs, or assets. Maybe the owners were taken advantage of by a specific lender who promised a 30-year fixed rate but gave them a 2-year ARM and they did not realize the switch until after the loan closed.
Or maybe the borrowers became victims of mortgage servicing fraud later on once their loan had been sold to Wall Street, securitized, and sold to pension funds in Norway and Iceland. Maybe the servicer placed forced insurance on the house or failed to pay the taxes and charged interest on late taxes that were the responsibility of the servicing company to pay. Maybe the owners were forced into foreclosure because they had just a little too much equity before property values started declining.
Or maybe the owners actually went to the court foreclosure hearing and attempted to save their home but were railroaded right through the system. Their answer to the foreclosure complaint may not have been formatted according to the archaic Rules of Procedure, so their filings were ignored and the judge ordered their home to be sold at sheriff sale, even though the owners were alleging blatant fraud. Free ride for the bank, homelessness for the borrowers.
Now, of course, not all of this happens in every case of foreclosure, but these may be the only homeowners who would want to get on television and tell their story. But saying the word “lie” on television is usually met with scorn and treated as hyperbole; alleging that banks purposely defrauded customers and using the word “fraud” is an invitation to foreclosure victims having their microphones cut and being escorted out of the news station by security.
So the mainstream news will just leave commenting on the housing market and foreclosure crisis to the professional economists who have never lost a job since graduating from college but can be trusted to use phrases like “temporary market slowdown” instead of “recession,” and “your deposits are insured” instead of “panic.” Average Americans, though, might say something that would agitate other average Americans, who may realize that they are not the only ones who have been defrauded in order to be looted.