Dean Starkman: One would think and I’d say there are three reasons and two are not the press’s fault and one most certainly is. The first reason as I alluded to was the fact of deregulation; the Bush administration was not only an ineffective regulator, they were actively hostile to bank regulation. In fact they affirmatively fought state regulators who were trying to regulate abuses in the mortgage system. So the press was dealing with a very difficult environment. Journalism and regulation actually do go hand in hand and there’s a synergy that happens between regulators, effective regulation and uncompromised journalism, that can really police rogue industries. So that went away and that was a big problem.

The second piece of the puzzle, as you know working in the media business, this was not a good time for newspapers and for media in general. The great collapse, the unravelling of media had begun with the rise of the internet. There were for instance four rounds of layoffs at The Wall Street Journal during this period. You could say, well that didn’t necessarily materially affect the number of boots on the ground. But I can tell you as having been there, that it did play a role in the confidence of the business press, in the aggression of the business press, in their risk aversion which I felt was really the decisive factor.

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