Wall Street and the business press
Heidi Moore, the editor in chief of Ladders, writes about how Wall Street would work with the business media as a way of understanding new White House communication director Anthony Scaramucci, who came from Wall Street.
Moore writes, “As a reporter at the Wall Street Journal during the financial crisis, I was boggled by the lengths to which hedge funds and banks would go to kill a story.
“When a negative report was in the works, company representatives often called up the journalist writing it and tried to ingratiate themselves with a charming introduction and some light chitchat. The point was to humanize the people at the firm so that journalists would feel guilty reporting negatively about it. (This almost never worked.) Maybe they’d invite the journalist to an outing — a bank-sponsored tennis game, a classical music concert — or a party held by the firm to get the journalist ‘in the fold.’ When a piece was in process, they’d follow up daily, trying to get a sense of who the journalist’s sources were and the direction of the story. The key at this point was to keep their enemies close.
“For example, when I was reporting on an executive coup at Morgan Stanley, the bank’s representatives were in touch with me more often than I spoke to my own mother. ‘Why would your publication waste time on a story like this?’ they’d ask. ‘It’s all going to blow over.’
“My favorite of their techniques, used by two major investment houses, was to flatly deny a story that I knew was accurate. When I offered to call my sources to reconfirm, the response I received was: ‘That’s it? That’s your negotiation?’ As a journalist, I didn’t see the truth as subject to negotiation. But Wall Street did; it’s all about what you can get.”
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