Media Moves

ProPublica Pulitzer winners: Media did not understand banking crisis

October 12, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush

Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein, two ProPublica staffers who won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, spoke in New York Tuesday night and argued that the media did not understand the banking crisis, writes Joe Pompeo of Capital New York.

Pompeo writes, “But Eisinger didn’t offer a blanket exoneration.

“‘The great failure of the press was to completely miss the rise of the shadow banking system,’ he said. ‘All the unregulated lending and leverage that was in the system. That was a terrible failure of my colleagues at The Journal, me. I was getting a little bit of a glimmer of it as a reporter, and some others were, but we just didn’t understand it. It was way too sophisticated for us. We weren’t asking the right questions. We weren’t examining the banks enough to understand how they were really making money, and that was a big problem.’

“Bernstein chimed in with a subtle indictment of the cable-news business networks.

“‘I agree with Jesse that there was some really good reporting during this period,’ he said. ‘But I also think it was drowned out by a sort-of rah, rah! cheerleading thing that you saw on certain television channels and a lot of the press. It’s much easier to trumpet quarterly earnings and write glowing profiles of C.E.O.s than it is to really dig into company financials, and talk to people, and really figure out what’s going on. I’d like to think that ProPublica and institutions like that are trying to correct that.'”

Read more here. Read a Talking Biz News interview with Eisinger from earlier this year here.

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