Barry Ritholtz is a widely followed writer and blogger. His website The Big Picture is a must read for many. He is the author of a hit book "Bailout Nation" (which I read and strongly recommend). This week he attacked the publishing and editorial policy of The Wall Street Journal in a blog post, referring to "headlines that are blatantly political" and " articles that looked to be edited by a ham-fisted politburo apparatchiks".
Barry claims that many different things have occasioned his displeasure, but offers the following, apparently the straw that broke the camel's back:
A specific article that led to this sad conclusion? The most egregious example (of many) I noticed was this front page headline: New Bank Rules Sink Stocks. This is the sort of silly headline I expect from lesser media outlets, not the Journal. Without getting too philosophical, we know that day-to-day action is mostly nonsense. Selecting a causal factor from the cacophony of news releases, earnings, price data is all but impossible. There is a whole lot of noise, and very little signal. Assigning a definitive causative factor is at best a guessing game, at worst an exercise in futility.
The above post was at 7:24 am this morning. By 1:00 pm a second post appeared. In this article, Barry modifies some of his earlier criticism. He refers to three contacts from WSJ writers who protest his position. His modifications are:
1. To concede that there are still many factual news stories in the WSJ; and
2. To decide that rather than refer to the "politicization" of the WSJ, he would better use the term "tabloidization".
Barry is most upset with the front page. The current stage of the debate seems now to be focused by Barry on the "marketing" of the headline news and the political news/commentary related to Washington, DC. In the calm of the afternoon, he seems ready to keep using the rest of the paper.
By the way, the frustration Barry felt was one of the things behind his five day Dow chart that I posted yesterday. It wasn't clear at the time, but I now feel that the commentary that he posted with the chart (not mentioned in my post of the graph) was prompted in part by his displeasure with what he felt were misleading items in the WSJ.
I don't get an early morning print copy of the WSJ any more, so I can't directly comment on Barry's observations. By the time I got a copy here in small town North Carolina, the news would be too old. With the rolling news schedule of the internet, if I did get the WSJ it would be for back up detail, not for breaking news. I hope that the details are still there after you get past the "tabloid section". I get the impression that Barry will now concede that to be the case.
Disclosure: No stocks mentioned.