Audit Notes: Dealism, AIG SECrets, Fed Fights Bloomberg

The business-press criticism quote of the day goes to The New York Times for this gem from Eduardo Mestre, an investment banker who helped cement the catastrophic AOL-Time Warner merger:

If you go back and read what was written in The Journal and what was written in The Times about this transaction, you would have thought that it was the second coming of the Messiah. I’m sure that if one were to read those today one would find it amusing, maybe dated, but it was, for financial reporting, it was as soaring and this is the great epiphany-of-life kind of journalism and you read it and it brought tears to your eyes.

That kind of thing brings tears to our eyes, too. Read Dean Starkman on dealism.

Reuters reports that the SEC, which pushed back against part of the AIG/Federal Reserve bailout secrecy, is actually helping keep it secret for a decade.

In May, the SEC approved a request by AIG to keep secret an exhibit to a year-old regulatory filing that includes some of the details on the most controversial aspect of the AIG bailout: the funneling of tens of billions of dollars to big banks like Societe Generale, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch.

The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, in granting AIG’s request for confidential treatment, said the “excluded information” will not be made public until Nov. 25, 2018, according to a copy of the agency’s May 22 order.

Nice follow.

Bloomberg files an update on its lawsuit against the Federal Reserve that seeks to force it to tell us who it bailed out and how. The Fed is trying to overturn a lower-court ruling that went in Bloomberg’s favor:

“Bloomberg has been trying for almost two years to break down a brick wall of secrecy in order to vindicate the public’s right to learn basic information,” Thomas Golden, an attorney for the company with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, wrote in court filings. He said the Fed may be trying “to draw out the proceedings long enough so that the information Bloomberg seeks is no longer of interest.”

— Finally, Rupert Murdoch hasn’t put bikini babes on page three of The Wall Street Journal just yet. But this ran on the front page of the paper Monday:

That’s above the fold, of course.

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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.