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The WSJ Responds

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 22, 2010 @ 1:00 pm In Financial Press | Comments Disabled

After this morning’s WSJ post [1], I was contacted by several different people from WSJ/Dow Jones I have known over the years.

Each of them are people I have read for a long time, and each covers different parts of markets and investing. All 3 of them told me that they have never experienced anyone “messing around” with what they write or telling them what to say.

In fact, they each pointed to other stories in today’s WSJ that did a much better job covering the factors impacting the markets than that front page story [2] did.

Consider these articles:

China, Not Obama, Sinks Stocks [3] (Marketbeat)

Dow’s Two-Day Hit: 335.55 Points [4] (WSJ)
Stocks Pummeled From Two Sides, Both the Obama Bank Proposal and China’s Pressure

The WSJ Jumped The Shark? No It Hasn’t [5] (DJMT)

I will state I think that these are significant, and contradict the front page DC article.

In considering this, there are two other factors that are noteworthy:

First, the headlines across the paper have become screamingly sensationalistic generally. Not only are the heds more about marketing than reporting, they very often belie what is actually discussed in the article. Indeed, they occasionally contradict it.

This isn’t a politicization of the Journal, it is more accurately described as a tabloidization of it. So its not bias that seems to be impacting the other sections of the paper, its marketing.

Now combine this headline stuff with the new political slant of the Washington DC coverage. Then add in the major changes (for the worse, IMHO) of how the front page has changed — the offbeat, esoteric (A-hed) articles, the long form magazine style stories — all have been replaced with much more prominent DC coverage, where the greatest political shift has taken place.

I am willing to give the Marketplace and Money & Investing sections the benefit of the doubt. But it seems weird to me to say that I am now sequestering the OpEd pages AND much of the A section.  Once the political motivations of the owner leave the Opinion pages, it is a slippery slope down towards yellow journalism.


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

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/01/wsj-another-view/

URLs in this post:

[1] WSJ post: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/01/wsj-jumps-the-shark/

[2] front page story: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575016983630045768.html

[3] China, Not Obama, Sinks Stocks: http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2010/01/21/china-not-obama-sinks-stocks/

[4] Dow’s Two-Day Hit: 335.55 Points: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748703699204575016642102874392.html

[5] The WSJ Jumped The Shark? No It Hasn’t: http://markettalk.newswires-americas.com/?p=8047

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