OLD Media Moves

Let's be tougher on CEOs

September 16, 2008

Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman writes Wednesday that he wishes business journalists would ask tougher questions when grilling CEOs.

Friedman watched the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch press conference and was disappointed in what he heard.

Jon FriedmanFriedman writes, “With all the carnage, you might expect to see a pinstripe lynch mob of sorts encounter the two chief executives. But the media were so polite and deferential to the two CEOs, they behaved as if the press conference were a victory lap for the financial services industry.

“There was an absence of tough, in-your-face questions. Yes, by all means, the journalists should have shown these fellows the respect that accomplished people deserve.”But where was the skepticism or the sense of outrage by the media? We’re supposed to be the proxies for the public. When I saw television networks interview the (wo)man on the street during the crisis, I saw more emotion in the faces of ordinary citizens than in those of the journalists.

“Don’t treat these CEOs like heroes. I have never quite understood why reporters and editors show Wall Street leaders, and business titans in general, so much deference. These are people who are incredibly talented at doing one thing: making money. They make money for themselves and hopefully, eventually, for their employees and shareholders.”

Read more here.

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