It seems like there’s an unofficial media brownout of the Lehman (OTC:LEHMQ) accounting scandal. Lack of coverage outside the blogosphere is disappointing to say the least. After chastising themselves for sleeping on the job in 2008/09, mainstream outlets have apparently slipped back into their old ways.
Sure, big media outlets are running some stories. But they aren’t front-page, for the most part. As CJR points out, NYT featured the $3b Tommy Hilfiger buyout over the Lehman story.
This Lehman report is only the biggest financial fraud since Enron. Bigger than Enron, actually. This isn’t a dig at at Dealbook and others at the NYT (NYT). They’re providing some great coverage, I just wish it was front and center.
Excerpt from the Columbia Journalism Review:
And just like that the Lehman Brothers scandal drops off the front pages. And not just the front pages—the section fronts, too.
Say, we just learned about a $50 billion fraud on Thursday. Think there might be some newsworthy follow-ups here? Actually there are, and both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have them, but they stuff them inside.
The Journal, which scored recently by bringing David Reilly back into the fold after a stint at Bloomberg, posts a Reilly news article looking at the culpability of Lehman auditor Ernst & Young. The paper dumps it on C7. The NYT has on the same angle—a very good one to examine closely—and slides it inside on B2.
Somehow the Times thought more people would care about Sorkin’s scoop on a $3 billion deal for Tommy Hilfiger or that it was more important than an auditor approving accounting fraud. They don’t and it’s not.
Maybe it’s too dull or complicated for mainstream? The public devoured information about Bernie’s ponzi scheme, and this much bigger than that. Yet I’m not seeing any sensationalist headlines. It’s all, “Accounting Gimmicks Discovered in Lehman Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Examiner Report”.
Lax coverage of a huge scandal like this just smells funny. Kind of like that nauseating Geithner fluff piece in the New Yorker. Playing ball with coverage on these issues may be the price of admission, as CJR suggests.
Tow the admin line, get exclusives and keep access to the White House. Am I getting too paranoid? That’s probably due to the fact that I keep reading about these crazy financial conspiracy theories on the web, and a few months later they turn out to be real.