Recently Matt Taibbi wrote a fantastic article that beat the ass of the financial media in telling the down and dirty story of Goldman Sachs, and how it has been on the cutting edge of Wall Street corruption down the years.
I can't link to it because it is not online. You can find it online here
Read it. It's the best story I've found on why Goldman Sachs is known as "Government Sachs."
Columbia Journalism Review is the nation's No. 1 journalism watchdog. Its online Audit blog posts constantly throughout the day, saying that some stories in the business media are good and some are not good.
The Audit has written about Goldman Sachs in the past. Yet it just had one measly sentence on Matt Taibbi's great story. Why? Obvious reason: it is financed by Goldman Sachs.
In The Deal Magazine website, Yyvette Kantrow, the editor there, nails the Audit for being silent on Taibbi's earthshattering story:
For a site that has repeatedly railed about the business press' failure to take on big financial institutions, its lack of comment on a major piece that did just that -- in spades -- was puzzling. Taibbi's story and the buzz around it has raised just the sort of questions you would think the folks up at Columbia would want to analyze with rigor; namely, is it OK to get some facts wrong, sling around unsubstantiated charges and throw away even the pretense of balance, as long as you believe the big picture you're painting is more or less correct? Many bloggers noted that while they didn't agree with all of Taibbi's points, they were on board with his larger argument that Goldman is way too powerful, way too politically connected, successful, creepy and greedy. So why quibble with his reporting?
The piece also seemed tailor-made for The Audit because, at least from this outsider's point of view, the site and the story appeared to share the same politics.
Still, nothing was forthcoming -- a state of affairs that got stranger when an Audit piece on the Goldman Sachs code-theft case linked to two stories on the powers of "Government Sachs" but made no mention of Taibbi's blockbuster. Now, we understand that The Audit isn't necessarily comprehensive. But we were also tempted to speculate that the silence may stem from the fact that Goldman is one of The Audit's backers. In fact, reacting to the brouhaha over The Washington Post's fundraising "salons," The Audit recently disclosed that it holds semiannual breakfasts for its funders and potential funders, including Goldman and Citigroup Inc.
Audit writer Ryan Chittum said he didn't do a blog on Taibbi because it isn't online!!!!!! I swear to God he said that. It is an unbelievably lame excuse. He did a little tiny mention of the article: "Chittum calls the piece 'a fascinating-if-hyperbolic polemic' but does not address some of the journalistic issues surrounding it, such as the value of throwing up lots of different charges to see what ultimately sticks."
Or maybe the overriding journalistic issue, which is that Taibbi is right.
We deserve better from CJR. Maybe they should get themselves backers other than the people they cover.
Postscript: CJR responds to Kantrow, and just makes things worse as far as this Taibbi article is concerned. He doth protest too much. But I admit that CJR seems to have done a lot of critical commentary on Goldman.