Audit Rewind: Elinore Longobardi’s Best of 2008

A handful of her picks from last year

1) The Great Man Theory and Hank Paulson The press often seeks out and artificially creates a Big Man in times of crisis, a hero who will save us all (see Rudy Giuliani/George W. Bush, September 2001) from disaster. As capitalism teetered on the precipice in September, the press rallied around Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson of all people, and Elinore called out the media for its myth-making.

2) NPR Leads on SEC NPR (especially This American Life) has aired some of the best explanatory journalism on the financial crisis. Elinore lauded public radio’s coverage of the SEC here.

3) Picturing the Crisis A significant part of Elinore’s criticism of the Paulson coverage entailed the press’s use of pictures. She continues the photography criticism here.

4) Foreclosure Phil Gets Fingered Phil Gramm was one of the fathers of the current crisis, with his tireless work to weaken regulation in the 1990’s. Elinore liked a Mother Jones piece that detailed his work pushing through a law that left derivatives like credit-default swaps a Wild West market with no sheriff.

5) New Yorker’s Hot Air on Poverty Elinore picked apart a Malcolm Gladwell piece that argued by anecdote that poverty can give outsiders an advantage.

6) Halve Not Elinore found that grammar at Reuters wasn’t half as good as it should have been—at least in this instance.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

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.