July 14, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Mortgage banking problems make Page 1 everywhere

You don’t have to live in New York or Washington and you don’t have to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal. Chances are that your hometown daily is reporting the financial mess that may affect us all as the federal government steps in to bolster troubled lending giants.

There it is, at the bottom of Page One of The Birmingham News in Alabama: “U.S. offers rescue plan for mortgages; Fed to lend funds,” or the lead story in the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska: “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bailed out” and at the bottom of The Arizona Republic in Phoenix: “Fed, Treasury boosting efforts to help Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac.”

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock leads with “U.S. plan offers billions to back mortgage titans,” The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., squares off at the top of Page One “Mortgage giants get help,” while the Aurora Sentinel in Colorado has the familiar poster of Uncle Sam filling a good portion of Page One with the head, “Sam’s double trouble,” and a drop head reporting on the “lifeline” for mortgage debt.

The Hartford Courant in Connecticut leads with “Feds buttress Fannie, Freddie,” the Charlotte Sun in Charlotte, Fla., puts “US spells out Fannie-Freddie backstop plant,” while the Marietta Daily Journal in Georgia has photos of the two lending giants topped by the head, “Another rescue.” In Hawaii The Honolulu Advertiser leads with “Feds step in to aid mortgage giants,” the Idaho Statesman in Boise tops Page One with “Fannie, Freddie look to sell debt,” while the Times-Republican in Marshalltown, Iowa, settles for the headline, “Market trouble.”

The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., reports “Mortgage crackdown likely today,” the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, leads with “Feds to act to ease crisis,” the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.,, says “US spells out Fannie-Freddie backstop plan,” and the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota also reports that “backstop plan.” The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., plays up “Treasury bails out loan giants.”

We may check out the story at the bottom of Page One of The News Tribune, the story with the head, “On second thought, put your clothes back on.”

And if we get a coffee break today to celebrate Bastille Day, we’re going to look up the Ogden Nash poem titled, “Bankers are just like everybody else, except richer,” which opens with, “This is a song to celebrate banks,” which seems appropriate reading if not singing.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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