A $7-Billion Omission
There were 7.7 billion reasons to report the story, but none of the three broadcast networks did so on their December 6 programs.
â€śFannie Mae took another step toward resolving its accounting fiasco by announcing a restatement of results that reduced retained earnings as of June 30, 2004, by $6.3 billion,â€ť The Wall Street Journalâ€™s James Hagerty reported on page A4 of the December 7 paper.
The same day, The Washington Post and The New York Times devoted business section stories to the mortgage brokerâ€™s accounting errors.
The Fannie Mae story is hardly Wall Streetâ€™s garden variety profit revision.
â€śIt took an army of accountants two years and more than $1.4 billion to quantify the mess,â€ť Washington Post reporter David S. Hilzenrath noted in his December 7 story. Hilzenrath went on to mention a
Fannie Maeâ€™s accounting mess â€śtoppled former chairman and chief executive Franklin D. Raines, who headed the Office of Management and Budget in the
The mediaâ€™s overall disinterest in what Newsweek reporter Charles Gasparino labeled a â€śgovernment-sponsored Enron,â€ť has also been chronicled by BMI.
â€śAlthough broadcast news offered wall-to-wall coverage of the endless commas and zeros behind the Enron collapse, Fannie Maeâ€™s staggering problems and the resignation of six top executives, including the CEO and chief financial officer, received almost no TV news attention,â€™ an April 2005 BMI special report noted at the time, although the inflated profit margins dwarfed those of energy company Enron.