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ThoughtsOnline

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I used to think that business reporters, unlike their general news brothers and sisters, that they pretty much provided a bias-free narrative of the goings-on in the business world. I also used to think that business reporters, unlike their general news brothers and sisters, actually understood the subject matter on which they were reporting. And I used to think that Santa Claus was real.

Well, it turns out that business reporters are no less-biased, and no better informed, than the reporters covering politics, welfare or anything else. They don't understand the subject matter, they're as prone as anyone else to fall for the easy-to-understand-but-wrong story line, and they're just as likely to insert their own biases into their reporting.

Today's example comes courtesy of the Washington Post, 'In High Court Filing, It's U.S. vs. Investors", in which the reporter attempts to portray a matter before the Supreme Court as being between 'investors' on one side and (my quote) 'companies committing fraud' on the other. In this story line, evidenced by the opening line of the story, "The Bush administration yesterday sided with accountants, bankers and lawyers ", we're supposed to - as the reporter so obviously does - line up on the side of the angels, I mean 'investors', who had their life savings stolen from them by corrupt evil-doers.

Yet, there are 'investors' on both sides of the issue. There are those investors who invested in companies, lost money and are trying to recover their losses from someone else. And there are those investors who invested in the companies from which the first group of investors are trying to sue. In particular, in the case before the Supreme Court, investors who lost money in Charter Communications are trying to sue Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta, both of which have, yes, investors.

So does the reporter not understand that there are 'investors' on both sides of this dispute? Or does she know that, and is just choosing to ignore that, in favor of a more salacious article? Ignorance or bias? You make the call.