Now the WSJ Just Ignores Plaintiff Victory in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Litigation by Todd Sullivan, ValuePlays
In the past I’ve stated publicly that there is a corporate stance at the WSJ regarding the Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC) litigation (anti-shareholder). I’ve been assured more than once from folks at the Journal my opinion is in fact incorrect and that there is no “corporate stance” infecting coverage both in the news and the opinion pages.
Given them the benefit of a doubt this was in fact true ( I continue to maintain it it is not), I have been breathlessly awaiting the WSJ’s coverage of Pershing’s recent victory v Treasury/FHFA before Judge Lamberth. I mean, they have covered every one of his earlier decisions in these cases and since plaintiffs won, at least now they’d have to at least acknowledge it…….right? More on this later….
If you are only a casual follower of this litigation, you’d probably only think that Judge Lamberth is the only presiding judge in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cases given the exhaustive coverage he has been given by the WSJ up until now. Did you know that before Judge Sweeney they are nearly through with discovery? A discovery process that has lead the plaintiffs filing redacted briefs due to the highly sensitive nature of what has been uncovered? Here is the Fairholme redacted brief. You wouldn’t if the WSJ was your only source of information of this.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Judge Sweeney in the DC Court of Claims
Last Halloween I wrote regarding their coverage of proceeding before Judge Sweeney in the DC Court of Claims:
Now, I can guarantee you this, when plaintiffs answer this government filing with one of their own and make a very strong case as to why Sweeney should ignore defendants brief, the WSJ will give it lip service at best, assuming they cover it at all. How do I know this? When plaintiffs won discovery in Feb. 2014 before Sweeney, do you know how many articles the WSJ ran on it? One. Just one……….
In front of Judge Sweeney plaintiffs have won a string of rulings, are knee deep in a discovery process that is far broader both in terms of time periods and the scope of what will be discoverable than what the government wanted. What discovery they were granted (link) does is it allows plaintiff lawyers to “discover” evidence that would undermine government claims in their motion to dismiss. It really is a big deal. This got one article…..
Do you know how many posts they have run about Lamberth’s recent decision? I get 16 here and probably missed a few. So, its more than a little clear the Journal has morphed from “reporting” to “advocating” in these cases.
I now long for the days of inequitable coverage of 16 to 1…..,………… to date the WSJ has not penned a single word on last week’s victory before Lamberth………not one
Now the stock answer will probably be “we don’t regard that decision as news so we did not cover it”. Now, one who is frightenly gullible might be inclined to buy that if in fact the WSJ had not bothered to actually cover it already when the government originally filed its motion to dismiss. Back then they were more than happy to write it up and even insinuate should Pershing lose shares might “plunge again”.
If the judge agrees, shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could plunge again. And given that the case is before the same judge that dismissed the other suits, that is a real possibility.
I guess the possibility, no matter how remote that “plaintiffs might lose” is actually more newsworthy than “plaintiffs actually win”?
Surely a decision that counters that and does not cause “shares to plunge again” is worthy of coverage? Maybe? Well it doesn’t I guess if your organization as a whole has decided the shareholder lawsuits are without merit and deserve to be dismissed. It was the WSJ editorial page after all who said: “plaintiffs’ argument that combined dubious legal reasoning with junk economics.” Pretty much says everything about their “opinion” of shareholders lawsuits.
WSJ’s corporate stance regarding the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac litigation
Now, of course everyone is free to have an opinion and of course we expect there to be different voices, everyone can’t think the same way……..can they? Think about it, an organization a large as the WSJ (Dow Jones) must have at least one person with a different view on this litigation, right? Simple math tells us the odds of everyone just happening to feel the same way are non-existent. To date there has not been a single piece written in the WSJ that supports the litigation from shareholders……..not one. So either there is actually a “corporate stance” at the WSJ regarding the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac litigation or they suffer from a dangerous level of “group think” that ironically they so readily accuse and mock the NYT of having. What did the pot say to the kettle?
I’m sure folks at the journal will again reach out to me and reiterate their claims that there is no official “corporate stance” on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac litigation and that there is a “Chinese Wall” between news and editorial/opinion. I mean, they have each of the other occasions.
Here is the thing……words are meaningless when every single action you take illustrates the exact opposite………the exact opposite.