If The Audit is about anything, it is about pushing back against a financial press culture that grows ever narrower in its focus, more geared toward investors, less toward citizens, more about comings and goings of big shots, less about the consequences of these clowns’ decisions, more about access, less about accountability, more timid, less imaginative, and generally more inclined to spend resources chasing deals and other petty scoops like a pack of greyhounds after a mechanical rabbit. These trends represent a retreat from business journalism’s own traditions, and we don’t like it.
Don’t kid yourself. Behind the bickering of two small journals are competing ideas about journalism.
Basically, we’re against dealism. We’re for i-dealism, and, for that matter, business journalism—broad, robust, sophisticated, plugged-in, arms-length, and courageous.
As I’ve said before, we like deals (and, for that matter, inside-Wall Street-coverage) as much as the next financial-media-critic blog. But business journalism is much bigger than that.
Most business reporters know what I’m talking about, even if the cynics don’t. It is the reporters who have to operate inside the invisible fence that defines what is and isn’t a business story, and they have every interest in widening the field. They’re ready for a new direction. All it takes is leadership.
And so it is true, we have a big bone to pick with the business press, especially when it comes to its coverage of Wall Street. So should all readers.
But let me say this in defense of the mainstream bizpress, including and especially my former colleagues at The Wall Street Journal, which, as the financial media’s flagship and agenda-setter, has come under some of our toughest criticism: whatever our differences, they make their arguments, if sometimes heatedly, on the merits, without cheesy speculation as to motive. Maybe they assume we argue in good faith. Maybe they think we might have a point. Or maybe they’re just pros.
Kantrow and The Deal go a different way. They don’t like The Audit. That’s clear. It makes sense, and it’s all right with us.