Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bad News: New Book Probes Role of Press in Financial Crisis

Great read by Peter Goodman @ The Huffington Post (H/T Naked Capitalism).

Interesting Excerpts:
But one segment of American society has largely evaded scrutiny in the search for the source of the disaster: the financial press. This is a dangerous oversight, argues journalist Anya Schiffrin in an intriguing and thoughtful new book, "Bad News: How America's Business Press Missed the Story of the Century."
As the crisis begins to fade from memory, and as acute fear is predictably replaced by complacency, a rigorous accounting of what actually transpired is imperative. Schiffrin aims to impose that accounting on those of us who make our living writing about finance. Her findings are not comforting, suggesting that coziness with sources and a lack of financial acumen made many reporters vulnerable to bogus assurances that nothing was wrong.
The trouble was that a louder chorus repeatedly drowned out this probing reporting about the magnitude of the real estate bubble--a steady celebration of permanently rising home price, the fantasy that propelled a construction binge, a mortgage bonanza and no end of wealth that got created along the way. That chorus abetted and enabled the capture of the regulators who are supposed to be able to tune out such noise while dispassionately scrutinizing the numbers.
Still, the basic critique of the book is instructive and worth contemplating. It boils down to most of us not cultivating a wide enough circle of sources. For anyone who writes about finance, it is worth pausing to consider where we regularly draw our information and then actively expanding that zone. It is worth looking at how many of our sources are people whose job descriptions include having to talk to reporters for a living. Because in this crisis, as in all such events, the warnings were never going to be obtained from people paid to talk to the press, a group dominated by the special interests that benefit from the status quo.
Click Here to Read: Bad News: New Book Probes Role of Press in Financial Crisis 

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