Felix Salmon asks an oddly interesting question:
“As befits a book from such an assiduous source-citer as Ritholtz, Bailout Nation comes with 17 pages of endnotes, most of them with URLs. But here’s the funny thing: the number of blogs cited is tiny. Paging through the notes, I see Barry citing himself a couple of times, there’s one reference to TPM Muckraker, and that’s about it.
A blog entry by John Carney does make it into the book, but is cited at its Yahoo Finance address, complete with annoyingly auto-playing video. Occasionally bloggers appear — me, Arianna Huffington, Paul Krugman — but never for our blog entries, only for more formal things we’ve written (in my case, my NYT op-ed). And we’re all more or less part of the mainstream media anyway. “Pure” bloggers are I think entirely absent from the book. Meanwhile, columnists in more mainstream outlets get cited quite frequently.”
I find that intriguing that Felix noticed this. It was not at all a conscious decision.
But this post may we think about it, and the answer is surprisingly simple: I wanted to keep all of my references to either the original source material (Federal Reserve, Treasury, etc.) or first hand observations.
Well, a lot of the book is laying out the facts in as objective fashion as possible. From there, I engaged in my own analysis and interpretation and commentary, none of which was objective at all. That is the point — to have a perspective, one that is backed up by the data and facts.
Hence, I used Wall Street research, and internal bank memos. I cited investigative journalists who had discovered new information (American Banker, Bloomberg, WSJ, NYT, NY Sun, Oregonian and Portfolio and others). I referenced authors who had done a lot of original research and had written entire books on their relevant subjects.
We are entitled to our own opinion, but not our own facts, I was vey insistent on making sure the facts stood clearly apart from the opinion and analysis.
But when it came to commentary, opinion and criticism, I wanted to ensure the prose was original and in my voice; quoting other bloggers would have defeated that goal.
Note that the bloggers I referenced had produced original material, rather than comments on other people’s original material. These included Calculated Risk, WallStats, Stereo Hell and The Chart Store. Their original art/charts did a great job communicating a particular point I was trying to make . . .
Barry Ritholtz’s book: Where are the bloggers?
Reuters Blogs, May 19th, 2009
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