Biz journalists take rap

Several of them meeting at an industry pow wow in Denver say they could have done a better job in warning folks about the financial meltdown. From the Colorado Independent:

"We drank the Kool-Aid," said Jane Bryant Quinn, personal finance columnist for Bloomberg and Newsweek. "We believed that free markets were the best kind [of markets]." She said it had become "unfashionable" over the last three decades to write about regulation, so they didn't.

Actually, plenty of stories were written about the looming disaster. It's just that nobody paid attention. That's what happens in a boom time - people believe what they want to believe and then discount all the deviations.

Of the journalists on the panel, New York Times Business Editor Larry Ingrassia was the least bowed. He read out a list of stories The Times had run over the last decade that treated the escalating loan crisis and executive compensation, for example. "The regulators were asleep but we reporters were not," he said. He later explained that the stories were there even if readers didn't heed them. He explained that his writers are looking to explain problems and maintained it was unfair to judge coverage based on whether people act on the information reported.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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