OLD Media Moves

Henriques: NYT did stellar job in warning about financial crisis

October 23, 2008

Diana Henriques, a senior financial writer at the New York Times, spoke at Southern Methodist University on Tuesday about how the business media covered the financial crisis and noted that her paper did a fine job of sounding the alarm.

Chris Dell, a reporter at the SMU Daily Mustang, wrote, “So, who was to blame for the crisis? Henriques said the media wasn’t totally blameless. News programs made the mistake of placing too much importance on the stock market, suggesting ‘it is the only market that matters.’

“Henriques said if the bond market had been a fixture on the nightly news, perhaps the impending crisis would have been recognized sooner. She stated by the time the financial turmoil affected the stock market, it was too late for regulators to react.

“She also said there was a conflict between what the press felt obligated to tell the public and what the public wanted to hear. People who were benefitting from the housing bubble certainly didn’t want to hear that the day of reckoning would come.

“‘There really are times when people don’t want to hear what the press says,’ said Mark Vamos, the William J. O’Neil Chair of Business Journalism, who attended the speech. ‘In the bubble, there were a lot of people getting rich … They were using their [home equity] like ATMs.'”

Read more here.

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