Wednesday Links: Crooked Heart, No Smell, Paying for News

Joe Nocera, fresh off slamming banks on Saturday, makes fools of them today on their line that they didn’t cause the crisis, publishing fliers JPMorgan Chase sent out four years ago pitching mortgage brokers on how far Chase’s lending standards had fallen for subprime mortgages.

His correspondent says “There were mortgage brokers who acted unethically, absolutely… But where do you think mortgage brokers were getting the subprime mortgages they were selling to customers? From the big banks, that’s where. Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America — they were all doing it.”

That the banks can even argue this nonsense with a straight face is indicative of a broader failure of the press to hold individual banks to account by getting to the “crooked heart of the credit crisis,” as Dean Starkman put it a year ago. (h/t Jay Rosen)

The Washington Post had an interesting story yesterday noting that regulators have beefed up enforcement under the Obama administration. In other words, they’re actually doing their jobs now. “That same month, the FDA warned consumers to stop using popular cold medicines, Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and Zicam Cold Remedy swab products, citing evidence that some consumers could lose their sense of smell. The agency had known about the problem for years but had not addressed it.”

The Dallas Morning News is jacking up its prices and adding news staff. “‘If you really want this, we may need you to pay more for it,’ said Jim Moroney, publisher of The News.” Circulation revenue was up 14 percent last year at the Morning News despite a steep decline in circulation. It sounds like the DMN wisely has been listening to Alan Mutter. So much for the folks who say you can’t get people to pay for news.

The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein brutalizes Goldman Sachs (an Audit funder) in the process of making the point that we’re in another financial bubble right now, something biz journalists everywhere ought to be looking at hard. “In case you just fell off a turnip truck, you might think ‘Monetizing the M&A Revival’ is serious research aimed at helping Goldman clients figure out how to profit from these uncertain times… But those with any memory at all will probably recognize this report for what it really is: a marketing brochure for Goldman’s investment bankers, who are just itching to begin cranking up the old M&A machine and generating those big fees again.”

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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.