Just in case anyone thinks the question of "controlling the narrative" doesn't matter, or that no one could seriously pin this mess on free markets, I give you the editorial voice of the New York Times, from today:
Republicans were also upset that serial bailouts represent a rejection of free-market principles. They do. That’s because the free market in finance, unregulated and unsupervised, has failed. And, in its failure, it is inflicting greater damage on an already weak economy.
No amount of amendments to the bailout package will change the administration’s disastrous economic record or erase the manifest failure of the Republicans’ free-markets-above-all ideology.
The only good news is that when one of my American Economic History students read that out loud to the rest of the class today, most of them laughed in derision.