TheDeal.com wrote about financial journalism and its critics.
So what are we really talking about when we say that financial journalism utterly failed? Better yet, whom are we talking about? Are we blaming local newspapers; big papers like The New York Times, the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal; the news magazines; CNBC and Fox; the B2Bs; the wires; the personal finance press; the blogosphere; the schools of journalism?
The fact is, someone, somewhere covered many aspects of this disaster. Local papers in California and Florida wrote about local real estate bubbles; and the personal finance media — not usually known for stepping out of the way of a boom — warned about price bubbles. The Economist described Goldman, Sachs & Co. and other Wall Street firms as overleveraged hedge funds years ago. BusinessWeek screamed about private equity. A number of B2Bs, the WSJ and New York Times wrote about concerns over credit default swaps. Barron’s famously took a shot at Bernie Madoff. Here at The Deal we worried about low bankruptcy rates, covenant-lite financing and evanescent liquidity. James Grant regularly warned about nearly everything. Even the Columbia Journalism Review’s Audit, which loves to consign financial journalists to a kind of populist hell, admits that a few early stories were written about subprime, but then rails that none of the big boys followed up.