The Business Press’s Favorite Talking Head

Mark Zandi on speed dial

My first reaction to this Bloomberg article was to write this on the Twitter:

hey, whaddya know, Mark Zandi is quoted in an article

If you read the business press at all, you’re surely familiar with Zandi, who’s quoted like nobody else. You don’t want to put a Google Alert on this guy, if you know what I mean.

Zandi gets the second and third paragraphs to himself in this Bloomberg story, and he predicts that Obama’s job proposal would up 2002 GDP by 2 percentage points.

Who’s Mark Zandi? He’s the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a Keynesian McCain adviser back in 2008 who supports the Obama stimulus, and a quote machine for deadline-frazzled journalists everywhere.

I brought up Factiva and searched major news and business publications in the U.S., to get an idea of just how much Zandi appears in the press. So far this year, he’s appeared 446 times to date, roughly 1.8 times a day. In the last week alone, he shows up about twenty-five times in USA Today (twice), Reuters, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal (twice), Marketwatch, Dow Jones Newswires, Agence France Presse.

Reuters called on Zandi to speculate on what Obama might include in his jobs plan. He’s the first pundit quoted in the piece, and you can see why:

“I think he’s going to probably try to thread the needle — have a few things that are very practical and necessary for the economy over the next 12-18 months,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and a former adviser to 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

“Anything he says, it’s going to be hard for him to get a lot of people really excited about.”

Err… maybe not.

No one came close to quoting Zandi as Bloomberg, which has talked to him six times over the last week, including three times for three different stories by three different reporters today alone. He’s showed up there six times in the last week, including this TV hit:

Little-known fact: Mark Zandi has his own Bloomberg terminal code. (I’m kidding—I think).

If Zandi isn’t the Most Interviewed Man in the Business Press by a wide margin, he’s up there in the top two or three. I get roughly seventy Zandi hits on Bloomberg’s site so far this year. On Factiva, he shows up sixty-seven times in the AP, thirty-three times in the Post, thirty-two times in USA Today, and twenty-six times in The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal is relatively Zandi-deprived, with just fifteen mentions.

It’s good for him and for Moody’s, who get all that free advertising and credibility.

It’s not so good for readers, who deserve to hear a broader range of voices.

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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 Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,