Bob Higgins

Making Heads or Tails out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on September 7, 2008

“Mortgage Giant Overstated the Size of Its Capital Base,” reads the headline of this morning’s New York Times.

The headline tops a story by NYT writers Gretchen Morgenson and Charles Duhigg which, like so many articles on finance, quickly leaves me floundering in a murky wake of economic jargon, acronyms, and boardroom corporatese.

I understand the gist of what I read, though I would have opted for a different headline, something along the lines of “CEOs and CFOs of Major American Financial Companies Lie to Regulators, Shareholders and Public, Throw Markets into Chaos, Cost Taxpayers Tens of Billions.”

I am I admit on medication.

I realize that writers and reporters seldom write the headlines that lead their stories and shouldn’t be held to account for them. That duty is performed by headline writers under the supervision of editors who are answerable to the corporate structure and its advertisers.

Writers pen their stories under the same supervision and are answerable to the same powers and advertisers, hence we get stories which fail to state the case clearly, as does my substitute headline.

I am not currently working in the “news biz.”