Media Moves

Does the business media continue to suck up to Wall Street?

April 8, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post has his own take on the relationship between the business media and the financial world, which he espoused in his Wednesday column.

Pearlstein writes, “I attended a conference at Columbia University earlier this week that wound up focusing on how the mainstream business press contributed to the recent economic crisis with fawning, uncritical coverage of the financial sector that ignored the evidence of abusive lending and bought into the myth that unregulated markets are more innovative and self-correcting.

“It’s a common view these days, particularly on the Internet, and although it’s a bit overdone, I’ll admit there is a dollop of truth in it. To demonstrate that we still haven’t learned our lesson, one of the speakers held up a story from last summer about the close relationship between J.P. Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon and top officials of the Obama administration — so close, in fact, that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had agreed to speak privately at an upcoming meeting of the bank’s board of directors. That these ties were reported without the requisite amount of outrage was cited as proof that ‘legacy’ media continue to glorify and suck up to Wall Street titans.

“It was left to Chrystia Freeland of Thomson Reuters to point out that the story was seen by both Dimon and his gleeful rivals as a public relations disaster and caused such a ruckus that Emanuel was forced to cancel his appearance.

“Three years after the onset of what was then thought of as the ‘subprime crisis,’ there remarkably is still no consensus on why it happened, who is to blame, how necessary the government bailouts were and what needs to be done to prevent such a cataclysm from happening again. Over time, the issues have been overwhelmed by populist anger, infused with political ideology, distorted by partisan maneuvering and special-interest pleading, and ultimately eclipsed by economic recovery. Any reforms that emerge from the political process are likely to reflect this collective confusion.”

Read more here.

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