Audit Notes: Deal Scoops; Gasparino on the Economy, Bloomberg Editorials

Deal journalism isn’t our bag here, but this New York Observer story is worth noting all the same. It’s interesting to quantify how dominant The Wall Street Journal still is in the field, especially with all the press Andrew Ross Sorkin’s DealBook gets.

Of the fifty biggest deals this year, the Journal has been first on fourteen to The New York Times’s three (Bloomberg got five and the Financial Times’s two, according to the Journal’s count).

After the story ran, a Journal staffer emailed me a spreadsheet that puts some numbers behind that idea. If accurate, they make a convincing case that despite Mr. Murdoch’s influences, the Journal is still No. 1 on the mergers-and-acquisitions beat. They also show that the paper is annoyed that because of DealBook’s high profile, it needs to make an extra effort to remind people it’s not limping along.

Of course, the size of the Journal’s business staff dwarfs the Times’s, and the data is just for 2010. I’m skeptical, too, of the numbers here. Did CNBC not get some scoops here?

— Fox Business News Network’s Charlie Gasparino says the economy is on the upswing now. Why’s that?

Economy gains as O declines.

“O” being Post-speak for Obama. This paragraph is particularly Murdochian:

It’s always risky to predict economic gains with the community-organizer-in-chief still in the White House and businesses grappling with his “signature achievement,” ObamaCare. The new Congress also could fail to live up to vows to cut spending — cuts we need if the markets and the economy are to improve beyond current predictions.

Leave aside the dubious wisdom, questioned by most economists, including conservative ones like Martin Feldstein, of cutting spending when there’s little private-sector demand, Gasparino thinks “Obama’s shrinking job security” is a boon for the economy.

Well, maybe, but this sure isn’t right:

Ask businessmen what costs worries them most, and they cite two major issues: Taxes and the mandate for universal coverage.

Businesses are and have long been worried most about rising health-care costs, period—any concern about the mandate for universal coverage pales in comparison. Virtually all large businesses already provide health care coverage for their employees, anyway, and most small businesses do, too.

— Bloomberg News is getting into the editorial-writing business, reports The New York Times.

The hero worship of Mayor Bloomberg here is pretty creepy:

“I think it’s very important that everyone understands that our editorial page is going to be, for sure, consistent with the values and beliefs of the founder — even if he happens to be mayor of New York City,” said Matthew Winkler, the editor in chief of Bloomberg News. “I fully expect us in our Bloomberg View always to reflect those values. In fact, I want people to come away from reading the Bloomberg View infused with those beliefs and values.”

But anything that provides a counterweight to the 800 pound gorilla of financial opinion—The Wall Street Journal editorial page—is welcome.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , ,