Audit Notes: Chris Christie and Stevie Cohen, euro zombie lies, clickbait

Governor dines with SAC honcho hours after firm pleads guilty

Fox Business’s Charlie Gasparino gets a wild scoop on Stevie Cohen, whose SAC Capital pleaded guilty to mass insider trading earlier this month and agreed to pay a $1.8 billion fine.

So New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a frontrunner for the GOP nod in 2016, personally invited his friend to the governor’s victory party:

Cohen was among the roughly 2,400 people who attended Christie’s victory bash at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, as well as a private dinner Christie had with a handful of supporters, according to people close to Cohen with direct knowledge of the matter. Cohen was one of the few who received a personal invitation from the governor to attend, these people say…

Christie and Cohen are said to be friends; one person with direct knowledge of the matter said the New Jersey governor had heard that Cohen was depressed amid the legal pressure, including last week’s guilty plea, and “told Steve to get off his couch” urging Cohen to attend his victory celebration.

Gasparino reports the “the invitation came just hours after Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara announced a plea deal with Cohen’s hedge fund that includes the largest fine in the history of insider-trading cases, a guilty plea and an agreement by SAC to end its business of managing money for outside clients.”

Just amazing.

— Dean Baker catches The New York Times perpetuating the zombie lie that the euro crisis was caused by governments overspending.

The Times:

“The announcement, by Olli Rehn, the European Union’s commissioner for economics and monetary policy, is aimed at keeping tighter reins on national finances to stave off the kind of overspending that fed a crisis that nearly destroyed the euro.”


In short, in the real world, the euro crisis is about a collapsed housing bubble leading to a severe recession. Te budget deficits were an outcome of this collapse…

In fact, of the current group of euro crisis countries, only Greece, and arguably Portugal, had a major deficit problem prior to the collapse. Italy’s deficits were not especially large and Cyprus, Ireland, and Spain all had budget surpluses on the eve of the collapse.

— In annals of clickbait news, Business Insider is making a late bid for the Pulitzers with “What It Takes To Be a Hooters Girl”:

And in going down a Thanksgiving retailing wormhole (never fear, I have more next week!), I ran across this page, which is a new low in pageview-mongering:

And my favorite:

And yes, served me new ads with every click.

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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: , , , ,