The Society of American Business Editors and Writers is meeting in Denver today.
Apparently it’s a mass confessional, as the editors and writers flagellate themselves for missing the crisis. You know, letting America down by not realising before politicians and bankers that the decades-long bull market in housing was about to come to an end, and that complex derivatives and credit default swaps allowed banks to obscure the precariousness of their balance sheets.
Jeez reporters, you really let us down!
“We drank the Kool-Aid,” said Jane Bryant Quinn, personal finance columnist for Bloomberg and Newsweek. “We believed that free markets were the best kind [of markets].” She said it had become “unfashionable” over the last three decades to write about regulation, so they didn’t.
“We could say things were risky … but we never said ‘Where’s the Fed?'”
Oh please, give us a break. Obviously, we can see why journalists like to imagine that they could’ve saved America or something, but just the idea that journalists were supposed to explain what politicians, bankers and homeowners all missed is absurd.
Perhaps it would all be a little more believable if we hadn’t read so much journalism that in fact was critical of business over the years. This idea that journalists “drank the Kool-Aid” just doesn’t fly. We read several stories over the years questioning executive pay, lender deceptiveness, the housing bubble, the lux life of Manhattan hedge fundsters. Look, we read Gretchen Morgansen and the rest of the NYT business section. There were no shortage of stories critical of business. There just weren’t.
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