It was precisely because of this kind of intellectual bully-boy stuff dished out by business-journalism pros that we (me and a couple of CJR staffers, Megan McGinley and Elinore Longobardi) spent three months reading thousands of articles to get a handle on a simple question: What was said? The top of the story quotes three practitioners in effect faulting the public for failing to read all the great work that had allegedly been done.

One thing that bothered me was that non-business-press cognoscenti were made to feel unwelcome in the debate about the crisis. All they could do was pay for it.

By all means, read our piece, and feel free to argue with its main premise that the national business press, individually and as a group, did not hold big lenders and their Wall Street backers to account when it mattered. It’s a 6,400-word piece and, so, nuanced.

But for now, I’d like to counter a few of Moore’s bogus assertions:

Let’s start with this one:

Starkman insists there were no articles at ALL on “Wall-Street-subprime nexus.” But that’s EXACTLY what this was abt:

This manages in 140 characters to misread both “Power Problem” and the story in the link, BusinessWeek’s excellent “Nightmare Mortgages” of September 2006, by Mara der Hovanesian, which is “exactly” not about the Wall Street/subprime nexus. It’s really about mortgages, but you have to read it. (The piece is included in our database, and I had it mind when I lauded the author as “excellent” in the main piece).

And, as I say in my story, the tragedy of financial journalism during the period was that some of the best work—tracing the subprime/Wall Street connection—was done in the earlier period, from 2000-2003, before Wall Street-backed predatory lending really took off. What happened? Buy the piece. Add to Cart

But Moore herself acknowledges in messages aimed at C.W. Anderson that “Power Problem” is not as crude as she makes it out to be when she uses it to reinforce her own argument that good work was done (which I never dispute):

must be hard for you to realize you can’t read. Starkman’s own article quotes at least 30 ex. of biz press alarms. Get over it.

please re-read Starkman’s article that YOU cited. He acknowledges biz press warnings from ‘00 to ‘07. Move on please.

So it’s nonsense, until you need it.

And then there’s this, to Rosen:

To take 737 articles out of the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS written pre-crisis is obviously fake “research.” You should know better.

No. We screened through many thousands. We listed 737. By the way, if you want to make a good case in favor of the business press, there are worse places to start.

And to take a few examples cited in the browbeating above, let’s look at the links Moore sends Rosen:


The first link is to a blog post taking issue with someone else’s critique.

The second is to a BusinessWeek story in September 2007 when warnings were moot and, thus, outside the timeframe of our study.

The third is to the der Hovanesian piece discussed above:


READ MORE: @moorehn: And more:

The first link is from 2008, and not a press warning: It’s about how state officials tried to warn others about the crisis, but, alas, no one would listen.

The second link is to a good Orange County Register story and helps reinforce my point the predatory was gettable but underdone by the national media, which were the subject of my piece.

The third is to an interesting New York Times story about an investment scam that doesn’t speak to the point of my piece.

The fourth is to a PDF of a Loeb submission from Dow Jones Newswires, a high-cost subscription service that was outside the scope of our study about warnings to the public.



The first link here is to a Boston Globe story, again reinforcing the point about the national press.

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.