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The Extinction of Investigative Journalism

|Includes: Mr Cooper Group Inc (COOP), JPM

This post is a retort to a journalist at the Seattle Times, Drew DeSilver, Economy/Markets reporter. The journalist was rude in a recent response to a WMI shareholder (although in fairness, I'm not privy to the entire email conversation).  At any rate he refuses any points of view that doesn’t match his own - even though we (at least 20 or so people) have been keeping him abreast of changes in a recent Washington Mutual case. My discontent is that he refuses to report on a recent filling that’s public record in the State of Texas and on docket at the U.S. Delaware Bankruptcy court. His refusal to even report on the filing by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP is based in part to our inability to ‘prove’ the filing is true with hard evidence. My retort is with his comment, "This is an allegation, not evidence; in fact, I see no actual evidence presented in the Texas complaint to back up this rather sensational "mole" allegation -- just a lot of "upon information and belief" stuff. If you have any actual evidence (rather than news clippings), I'd love to see it."  I read that as "do my work for me.." With that:

The Extinction of Investigative Journalism

Has the internet done to true professional investigative journalist what nature did to the Dodo? Am I wrong in contending that sound bites, two minute stories, opinion pieces and what I term “internet-echo&q... seems to be the norm for news reporting today? We’ve all seen it lately, during the lead up to the presidential election; stories would break only to find out (later) the journalist didn’t do their home work and verify key facts but in a fever to be able to say “you heard it here first” – ran with the story. Is that journalism or a salaried position as a twitter with a journalism degree? Sadly for newspapers, journalism and the American public, it appears to be the latter.

I’m not sure if investigative journalism is dead but I do know that very few journalists are looking for the ‘scoop’. Many journalist have become so politically correct that they will not ask tough questions and when presented with a possible ‘block buster’ of a story they sit idly by waiting for the story to come to them instead of going out and breaking the story as Woodward and Bernstein did . It’s certainly true that breaking stories are now birth on websites like seekingalpha and blogs where people like you and me do the tough investigative work, ask the hard questions and draw attention to actions we see as unjust.

But you see, we (the average Joe’s) often get it wrong – we get emotionally tied to our causes. We get blinded by the forest and that’s why we need the return of the professional spirit and drive that existed in two reporters in their late twenties who broke the Watergate story at the Washington Post – we’re missing the ‘professional&am... truth seekers and the way this nation is going – we need them now more than ever.

I once wrote in a story that there are “versions of truth – pointing out that truth is nothing more than an assertion. An outcome that isn’t testable, provable until it has passed and subjects itself to scrutiny.” And that’s where our new-age journalists are dropping the ball – the scrutiny, the digging, the verifying.

I started this piece with a question, has the internet done to true professional investigative journalist what nature did to the Dodo? Maybe not yet, but American society performs in much the same way as nature does, we weed out the weak, lazy professionals (regardless of career) and they in effect become extinct and replaced.

Filing we asked Mr. DeSilver to report on: