OLD Media Moves

Middle East journalists' view of U.S. biz coverage

April 6, 2006

I just spent the past hour talking about U.S. business coverage with a group of about 16 journalists from Middle Eastern countries ranging from Morocco to Bahrain to Iraq.

The general impression that they have about business news coverage in this country is that it is too soft and not critical enough about businesses. I replied that I thought that was the case in the 1990s and the early part of this decade, but that many in the business journalism field realized their sins and were trying to atone for those problems.

There was also a comment made that they believe that the large shareholders of many U.S. companies are government officials or government agencies. I tried to dissuade them of this notion, but Sen. Frist’s investment strategy obviously has had more legs than I imagined.

Many of the countries in the region have newspapers that cover business and the economy on a daily or weekly basis, but even they agree that the coverage could be better.

One recommendation I made to an Iraqi journalist that seemed to go over well: Go to the SEC web site and search for companies with contracts for the military doing business in Iraq and see what the documents filed with the SEC say about that business. I think they all will be doing SEC searches now.

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