9. Criticism of the financial media is already harsh and is bound to get harsher. In many cases, though I hope not here, it will be unfair, driven by ignorance, opportunism, anti-business bias on the left, anti-journalism bias on the right, what have you. On the other hand, as the messy process of finger-pointing begins, it is worth remembering that the bailout is only part of the hardship ordinary people must bear for the financial-services industry’s excesses. The first part comes in the yet-to-be-measured equity loss, not to mention mental anguish, borne by most of the four million or so foreclosees. In essence, this is a wealth transfer from the bottom to the top. The third part is the extended recession we are likely to enter. The fourth part is by pension and mutual funds hurt by what was essentially Wall Street’s sale of billions of dollars worth of defective products. It will be hard for the business media, but much harder for their readers.
10. Journalism is something but it isn’t everything. The last eight to ten years has seen dramatic decrease in journalistic resources just as journalism’s responsibilities have increased. The retreat and disempowering of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Comptroller of the Currency, Fed bank examiners under Greenspan, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Justice Department, and other key federal agencies, piled more and more responsibilities on the press—responsibilities, I would argue, it did not recognize and was not culturally prepared to shoulder.
There’s more, but that’s enough for now.