If so, one would presume the delinquency rates suffered by the GSEs during the crisis would have been very high. But David Min, an analyst with the Center for American Progress, shows that the after-crisis delinquency rates on the large additional portion of GSE mortgages that Pinto claimed were high risk, and that was termed “toxic” by Morgenson and Rosner, was roughly 10 percent, far lower than the 25 to 30 percent default rate of true subprimes.4 In fact, the rate of delinquencies for all GSE securities in 2004 was 4.3 percent, compared to a delinquency rate in private industry of 15.1 percent of mortgages. In 2005, the GSE rate was 7.8 percent compared to 28.7 percent, and in 2006 and 2007, the rates reached 13.2 and 14.9 percent in the GSEs and 45.1 and 42.3 percent in the private market.5 None of these figures are cited in Reckless Endangerment. In fact, losses as a proportion of mortgages guaranteed or bought by the GSEs were far lower than in private industry.

— Gene Weingaten wrote a funny column the other day in the voice of Cantankerous Old Newspaperman, but it raises some good points about the kids on his lawn:

Every time I write despairingly about what’s happening to my profession, there erupts an online clatter from younger journalists who contend I am a dyspeptic old codger resisting necessary and healthful change. This happened most recently in June, after I had criticized “branding,” the new industry theology in which reporters are encouraged to brazenly promote themselves. I thought branding — a concept adopted from marketing — was not only unseemly but carries a whiff of desperation, a symptom of an industry in panic, willing to abandon core principles, trying anything and everything in the hope that something, somewhere, can turn a profit.

Anyway, that was four months ago. The big headline from the (Online News Association’s) convention in September was: BRANDING IS DEAD.

Yep. Branding is so passé, so summer 2011! Deader than a doornail. Deader than the sycamores on which some newspapers still quaintly inscribe themselves. Branding has been replaced by a new theology in which — this is complicated, but I think I have this right — you, the journalist, don’t actually exist. You are a composite of all the people who read you — with their desires channeled through you and satisfied by you and them together, working in tandem. You are them but not them, and they are you but not you, in a mystical nexus not unlike the Holy Trinity.

So, anyway, here is a picture of bacon taped to a cat.

I Can Haz Cheezburger’s Ben Huh, who comes in for some hits in Weingarten’s piece, fires back with what reads like Jeff Jarvis for Dummies:

What’s killing newspapers isn’t the lack of new ideas, it’s people who obstruct the change that’s required to survive.

What’s killing newspapers is the inevitable dispersion of advertising revenue and attention unleashed by the innernets. Period.

Yes, institutions tend to be change-resistant and that can be bad. But let’s not pretend that if only the newspapers would listen to the Web folks that they’d be in much better shape.

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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 rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.