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The Watchdog That Didn't Bark - The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism - cover

The Watchdog That Didn't Bark - The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism

Dean Starkman

Publisher: Columbia University Press

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Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter details “how the U.S. business press could miss the most important economic implosion of the past eighty years” (Eric Alterman, media columnist for The Nation).   In this sweeping, incisive post-mortem, Dean Starkman exposes the critical shortcomings that softened coverage in the business press during the mortgage era and the years leading up to the financial collapse of 2008. He examines the deep cultural and structural shifts—some unavoidable, some self-inflicted—that eroded journalism’s appetite for its role as watchdog. The result was a deafening silence about systemic corruption in the financial industry. Tragically, this silence grew only more profound as the mortgage madness reached its terrible apogee from 2004 through 2006. Starkman frames his analysis in a broad argument about journalism itself, dividing the profession into two competing approaches—access reporting and accountability reporting—which rely on entirely different sources and produce radically different representations of reality. As Starkman explains, access journalism came to dominate business reporting in the 1990s, a process he calls “CNBCization,” and rather than examining risky, even corrupt, corporate behavior, mainstream reporters focused on profiling executives and informing investors. Starkman concludes with a critique of the digital-news ideology and corporate influence, which threaten to further undermine investigative reporting, and he shows how financial coverage, and journalism as a whole, can reclaim its bite.   “Can stand as a potentially enduring case study of what went wrong and why.”—Alec Klein, national bestselling author of Aftermath   “With detailed statistics, Starkman provides keen analysis of how the media failed in its mission at a crucial time for the U.S. economy.”—Booklist
Available since: 01/07/2014.
Print length: 382 pages.

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