OLD Media Moves

New Republic editor and MBIA CEO go at each other about ethics

April 4, 2008

Marty Peretz, the editor of The New Republic, and Jay Brown, the CEO of MBIA, are having a war on the magazine’s web site.

Shorting stockPeretz began the battle with a post on his magazine’s blog called The Spine in which he criticized at Q&A interview that Brown did recently with The Wall Street Journal.

Brown responded by posting a comment on The Spine, noting that Peretz has been an advisor and investor in funds that are shorting MBIA stock.

Brown wrote, “Although you have mentioned this conflict of interest in the past, you have done so only occasionally and obliquely – and often not at all.  In more than a dozen commentaries on the topic over the last few years, you have explicitly mentioned your short position in MBIA only once – more than a year ago. Â

“What’s troubling about that, of course, is that readers cannot rely on the independence of your journalism.  It’s worse still since you are trying, indeed hoping, to influence readers in a direction that will benefit you financially. Â

“That is precisely why (along with every other serious news organization) the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, both of whom you have criticized for their coverage on this topic, have explicit ethical guidelines on journalists holding financial positions.”

Read more here.

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