Matt Stoller: Memo to Reporters – How to Cover the 50 State Attorney General Foreclosure Settlement Talks

And so, the moral of the story is, the robo-signing/chain of title/overall mortgage securitization liability issue is a bear of a problem. It isn’t going away. So here’s a tip to journalists writing about the housing market. Don’t trust what Bank of America, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, various Federal regulators, Obama officials, and probably other bank-associated parties tell you.

Don’t trust the bank-friendly conventional wisdom, because it will end up making otherwise good stories inaccurate (this goes for headline writers as well). The banks don’t know their legal liability and the regulators don’t know how to fix this problem. And everyone’s suing everyone.

So how can you write about it? Well, do what other analysts (like Yves Smith) do, look at the actual content. Felix Salmon has a good example of how to do that here, with his post on The well-intentioned but doomed mortgage settlement. And the first story I cited, by Shahien Nasiripour, (aside from the “they’re on the verge of a settlement” CW) is great, showering important details on the actual state of the investigation. Or press your sources on why they told you a settlement was coming, when it didn’t. It’ll be an interesting explanation, which I’d like to hear.

Maybe the AGs will come out with a settlement tomorrow. But for the last nine months, that’s pretty much what the reporting has been saying. And it’s been wrong.

You can check out Matt’s post in its entirety here…

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson. You can reach him at stoller (at) or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller