This is most certainly the case. Especially for those of us who grew up in the Reagan era, regulation tended to be a dirty word.

And this is spot on:

Third, journalists failed to grasp the significance of the growth in off-balance sheet financing by the banks, its relationship with the pro-cyclical Basle II rules on capital ratios, and the overall concept of leverage. How many news organisations reported on the crucial Securities and Exchange Commission decision in 2004 to loosen its regulations on leverage? The explosive growth of structured investment vehicles at the height of the credit boom was also woefully under-reported.

Barber misses some stuff here—he should have pointed out the whiffing on the Wall Street/mortgage industry nexus, the “boiler rooms” The Audit’s Dean Starkman and others have written about.

But we’ll take what we can get.

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