Tuesday Links: Sorkin, De-Indexing, the Google Problem

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism shreds Andrew Ross Sorkin’s column on Congress finally stiffening its spine today. The headline betrays the status quo argument that follows: “Beware the Result of Outrage.”

One amendment aims to increase transparency of the Federal Reserve by allowing Congress to audit it As one friend of The Audit said of the piece: “the guy is confusing accountability with interference. Awful.”

Smith disputes Sorkin’s assertion that the amendments are intended to quiet the mobs: “that implies that the only reason for reform measures is to appease the angry public. Gee, the banking industry just drove the economy off the cliff, and the Fed and Treasury just stood by and watched. I’d say that is prima facie evidence of a need for a change.”

On a positive side note, I’m a third of the way through Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail and am thoroughly enjoying it. The amount of reporting he did for that book is mind-boggling.

Bloomberg scoops that Belo and Media News, like News Corp., are looking at removing some of their content from Google. Belo provides fodder for the idea that Google traffic just isn’t worth that much to newspapers.

“This is traffic that’s not being monetized to any great degree,” (Belo Executive Vice President James) Moroney said. “It’s akin to a person who drops into town, buys one copy of your newspaper and leaves town again and yet you spend a whole bunch of time building your business around that type of customer.”

— Douglas Rushkoff gets to the nut of the Google problem:

The people and companies who index ideas end up getting the money, while the people who actually have ideas and waste their time creating content end up broke.

But it’s unclear how much Google or any search engine really depends on news. And as I wrote this morning, even if you got Google to come off significant cash, it wouldn’t make much difference, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

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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 rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.