Thursday Links: More Fed/AIG, Reuters and SAC, Netflix

The New York Times’s DealBook prints the Federal Reserve/AIG emails spotlighted in Bloomberg’s scoop this morning, though as the FT’s Alphaville notes, it’s awfully uncharitable with crediting the Berg. Bloomberg itself should have printed the documents along with its story if its source agreement allowed that.

Felix Salmon zeroes in on the Fed’s “culture of secrecy”:

If and when the Fed embarks upon its soul-searching project, it shouldn’t just look at its regulatory failures and its inability to spot or care about the housing bubble. It must also think long and hard about its culture of secrecy, which seems generally designed to further the interests of its big-bank shareholders while keeping the public as ignorant as possible.

— Reuters spiked Matthew Goldstein’s story on SAC Capital after hedge-fund kingpin Stevie Cohen complained to an exec there, but it at least doesn’t shrink from running a Goldstein scoop today on yet another SAC tie to an insider-trading investigation:

A year ago, federal regulators accused a former Blackstone Group investment banker, Ramesh Chakrapani, of tipping off a friend — referred to as “tippee 1” in a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint — about the 2006 buyout of the Albertsons supermarket chain.

Until now the identity of that friend has been a mystery. But Reuters has learned from three people familiar with the Chakrapani case that he is Jonathan Hollander, a 34-year-old former analyst at SAC.

The sources also confirmed that the firm where the trading in question took place in January 2006 is CR Intrinsic Investors, an SAC subsidiary.

In court papers, regulators contend that the Albertsons tip resulted in a series of trades that generated $91,000 in profits for the friend and his parents, as well as $3.5 million in trading profits for his firm.

— And by the way, applaud Chris Roush for staying on the spiked-SAC story, which he broke. He reports today on a Reuters conference call with editor-in-chief David Schlesinger:

At one point near the end of the call, however, Schlesinger interrupted one staff member who said that the editor in chief’s editorial judgment was on trial. ”My judgment is not on trial here,” he said, apologizing for losing his temper. “It was a question of judgment, and that judgment is not up for a vote or trial.”

When another staff member noted that the Reuters attorney who advises editorial had approved the story, Schlesinger replied that not every story vetted by a lawyer runs.

— Some people have a hard time imagining why they can’t have somebody else’s content how they want it when they want it at what price they want it. See MG Siegler’s rant at TechCrunch about Netflix agreeing to delay shipping new releases for four weeks, as a fine example of this.

Hollywood thinks that with this new 28-day window deal, the masses are going to rush out and buy DVDs in droves again. That may happen short-term, but long-term this is just about the dumbest thing they could have done. They might as well scream out “Please pirate our movies for the next four weeks, before you rent them cheaply and we make any kind of money”…

Hollywood has skated along for years selling these crap movies, but with the rise of mail, kiosk, and online rental systems, the truth has been revealed: No one wants to own these movies. Hollywood thinks it can put Humpty Dumpty back together again with this 28-day crap, but they can’t.

And they’re going to learn that the hard way, apparently. When piracy starts to rise, they’ll undoubtedly blame everyone but themselves.

These are such crap movies that people can’t endure twenty-eight measly days without resorting to stealing them? Huh? Actually, this seems like a no-brainer move by Hollywood, which has seen sales of its new releases eviscerated. Or, maybe, it points toward a day when Netflix subscribers pay extra for access to new releases. Until then I guess it’s “Netflix Stabs Us In The Heart So Hollywood Can Drink Our Blood.”

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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.