The FT Calls This a Front-Page Story?

The Financial Times has a poor story this morning on how Goldman Sachs’s reputation has been battered by the negative publicity it’s attracted during the crisis.

The FT bases its assertion on a survey done for it, but never gives a single number from the survey or even an idea of how much damage has been done. How do you miss that?

The paper reports that “Brand Asset Consulting found that Goldman’s stature – as measured by several gauges of brand strength – had suffered in 2008 and 2009” and that Morgan Stanley also has taken hits as well, though not as badly as Goldman.

But there’s just zero point to this story without any quantification. Anybody with half a brain can tell you that they’ve seen “Goldman Sachs reputation tarnished,” as the FT’s headline says. Who thinks it’s been enhanced?

Folks, this is on the front page of the newspaper. You’d be hard-pressed to find a high-school rag that writes a story about numbers without including any of the, you know, numbers.

There’s no indication of whether Goldman’s reputation ratings have fallen five percentage points or fifty or from what level they fell.

That’s not the only problem with the piece: Toss in a couple of dumb quotes, too, like this one:

“All of this giant squid language they can pretty much brush off,” said William Barker of Brand Finance. “My guess is that their customers are probably very happy with them.”

Hey, there’s an elephant in the room here: It’s called taxpayers and the government. A company’s image, especially a Wall Street bank under as much scrutiny as Goldman (an Audit funder), is critical these days, you know.

I guess that quote does fit in with the story: Entirely unhelpful.

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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.