By Pam Martens: December 3, 2012
In what can only be described as an unseemly marriage of the plundering herd on Wall Street and the so-called paper of record assigned with the arduous task of delivering unbiased investigative reports to the public, the New York Times has made the deeply unwise decision to hold “The Inaugural DealBook Conference.”
The all-day conference to be held at the New York Times Center on December 12, headlines Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase – a company under serious Federal investigation on multiple fronts — and Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, a company which faces multiple lawsuits alleging investors were defrauded and which paid $550 million two years ago to settle SEC charges that it knowingly harmed its own clients.
The Times’ business writer, Andrew Ross Sorkin, appears to be the official host of the conference, delivering the opening welcome alongside Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman of the company and Publisher of the paper. Sorkin will also interview Jamie Dimon on stage and deliver the closing remarks at the conference.
Sorkin has appeared too chummy with Wall Street in the past. His 2009 book party for “Too Big To Fail,” included Jamie Dimon and numerous other Wall Street luminaries and hedge fund managers. One might well assume they did not come to celebrate being exposed as villains in the book.
Sorkin’s official bio at The Times says he started DealBook in 2001 and is “an assistant editor of business and finance news, helping guide and shape the paper’s coverage.” Guiding and shaping seems like the job of public relations flacks and not the job of a newspaper. In yet another burst of synergy, Sorkin also co-anchors CNBC’s early morning business program, Squawk Box, where current and former Wall Street titans regularly deliver their prognostications, unimpeded by probing questions. CNBC is one of the advertising sponsors of the upcoming DealBook conference.
Richard Attias, the man who organized the World Economic Forum in Davos for many years, is organizing the DealBook conference. Attias’ official bio says he activates global networks of “thought leaders,” which has included in addition to the WEC, “the Clinton Global Initiative; the Middle East Peace Summit in Jordan; the Dalian Economic Summit in China; and the signature of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Marrakech, and most recently the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Hawaii in November, 2011.”
Just before Sorkin makes his closing remarks, the much admired and respected Times columnist, Paul Krugman, will be delivered onto the stage to speak on “The View from Washington.” I, for one, would respect Krugman far more if he refused to allow his name to share a marquee with Dimon and Blankfein. This all smacks of using journalists to burnish tainted Wall Street reputations.
The close synergies between Wall Street and Washington have not worked out well for the country of late. More accurately, they’ve been a disaster. Should we expect anything better from a cozy relationship between the business press and Wall Street?