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Bear Trap, part II

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On August 4, 2008 @ 2:53 pm In Corporate Management,Financial Press,Legal,M&A | Comments Disabled

I mentioned [1] earlier the "anonymous" book Bear Trap [2]. A few additional details have come to light, and they are worth sharing:

The original clip [1] came to me from a Fox producer — and since that was the only coverage online, it was all I saw (there was no mention of other footage).

Liz tells me that Fox did several follow ups that day, including a long segment with Ladenberg Thallman banking analyst Dick Bove, (former) SEC prosecutor Marvin Pickholtz (who shot down many of the book’s accusations) as well as former Bear Stearns Chief Economist John Ryding. The book accuses Treasury Chief Hank Paulson of having a grudge against Bear — but the Treasury Department had not seen the manuscript for Bear Trap [2], they would not comment — but Liz tells me they were asked.

None of that was online, which is unfortunate, because this looks to be a much more substantive piece of journalism than the single clip I received.

As to my accusations of Yellow Journalism [3] — in light of the additional clips, perhaps that was the wrong term. The two issues I have with this story are: 1) I find the entire "anonymous author to be unveiled September" by publisher BrickTower Press to be just so much gimmickry to sell books. That’s too bad, because it cheapens what  could be an important inside look into Bear’s collapse; 2) As noted previously, I hate the rumor mongering aspect [4]; given how poorly managed Bear was, its simply a nonsensical distraction, pushed by a clueless SEC, who should know better. Additionally, whenever I see that storyline on Fox, it looks to this tv junkie to be less about the actual financial issues and more about taking a cheap swipe at CNBC. But to be fair and balanced, perhaps the phrase "Yellow Journalism" was less than ideal.

I spoke with Liz this morning about my reservations about the piece. In fairness to her, my critique was based on that single clip, and I didn’t see all of the rest — as it was not online. Based on what she told me, they made a good faith effort to present many sides of this (Bove, Pickholtz, Ryding)  and not just the breathless "We have a scoop" portion I saw.

Liz, tell your producer to put the good stuff on the web, and we will give it prominent play here.

Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/08/bear-trap-part-ii/

URLs in this post:

[1] mentioned: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/08/bear-trap.html

[2] Bear Trap: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1883283639/thebigpictu09-20

[3] Yellow Journalism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

[4] I hate the rumor mongering aspect: http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/14/news/boyd_sec.fortune/?postversion=2008071414

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