Edwards is raising $100,000, much of it from his own pocket, to help those in New Orleans whose home was foreclosed by a company the hedge fund Fortress had invested in. He did not have to do this because he was not responsible for what happened. Kudos to Edwards for going the extra mile.
The Edwards campaign announced that the former North Carolina senator has taken steps to address his financial links to subprime lenders who foreclosed on several dozen New Orleans homes following Hurricane Katrina. His connection to those foreclosures has caused embarrassment for Edwards, a populist Democrat who has campaigned on New Orleans' recovery and against predatory lending practices.
Edwards has redirected part of his $16 million investment with Fortress Investment Group, a New York hedge fund that employed him last year, out of a fund that holds ownership in Nationstar Mortgage, a subprime lender involved in some of the New Orleans foreclosures. And he has helped set up a "Louisiana Home Rescue Fund" seeded with $100,000, much of it from his pocket, that will provide loans and grants to the families who were foreclosed on by Fortress-owned lenders. The fund will be administered by the anti-poverty group ACORN, which is trying to track down all the affected families.
It is good to see ACORN is involved in this. If you recall, when Edwards was being attacked feverishly by the corporate media a couple of months ago as a hypocrite for gasp being wealthy but caring about the poor ACORN's president issued a statement defending Edwards' commitment to the anti-poverty caused. For more information on ACORN see its website and the wikipedia
page on it.
Hopefully, this does to the corporate media drumbeat on the Fortress/foreclosure story what the "hair" Youtube video did to the haircut meme. Sure, the corporate media will continue to talk about these things and use them to paint Edwards as a hypocrite. However, notice how much less frequently you hear about the haircut in the aftermath of the Youtube video?
Speaking of the corporate media's assault on Edwards, Eric Alterman had a good piece in The Nation today about shoddy, biased coverage of Edwards, Gore in 2000, and Maureen Dowd's obssession with Obama.
Each year's election narrative is determined by the bigfoot correspondents and the top tier of the punditocracy and then reinforced by everyone else. It works best with a conservative spin because of the recent right-wing takeover of so many of these perches, owing to the power of Drudge, talk-radio and cable TV. But it is determined in places like Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Washington Post. To get an idea of how the process works, take a look at the coverage of John Edwards's campaign. In an alleged news story, "Edwards Talks Tough on Hedge Funds," Times reporter Leslie Wayne observed, "Mr. Edwards has made poverty his signature issue, a topic that stands in sharp contrast to his own $30 million net worth." Wayne and her editors apparently think there's a "sharp contrast" between a man being wealthy and his expressing concern for the poor. It's a constant theme of the Edwards coverage. The Post, for instance, devoted breathless front-page coverage to the sale of Edwards's house. Bill Hamilton, a Post editor, defended this decision to the paper's ombudsman by explaining that Edwards was a "presidential candidate [who] just happens to be a millionaire who is basing his campaign on a populist appeal to the common man."
The unmistakable implication is that poor people have no right to representation in our society. No one mocks Mitt Romney for promoting policies that protect his more than $250 million net worth. Ditto Rudy Giuliani, who pocketed more than $16 million last year alone. But as Fox's Neil Cavuto puts it, "The GOP guys are not pretending to be, you know, great poor advocates." Since actual poor people are de facto disqualified from running for President by Congress's refusal to institute the kind of publicly financed elections that are the rule in most democracies, the result is that we allow representation only of the rich, by the rich.
Read the rest here
Read the rest of the Washington Post article here.