CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg didn't warn investors about financial armageddon, and they're not providing much catharsis now. Which is why it's fantastic that the likes of TMZ and Extra now chase financial stories.
Exposing corporate waste and stupidity is the hot new trend in tabloid media, according to a front-page New York Times article this morning. Examples:
- The celebrity-chasers at TMZ turned around a pretty awesome scoop about a federally-bailed-out bank that threw an ostentatious multi-day party involving Tiffany gift bags and performances by Sheryl Crow, Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire.
- Celebrity news show Extra's been staking out Bernie Madoff.
- An NBC News correspondent who used to host "To Catch a Predator" reported a three-part prime time series called "Inside the Financial Fiasco."
- ABC News turned the tabloidy tactic of hovering a helicopter over Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to film Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis landing there in a $50 million Gulfstream G5. (B of A has nine planes and received about $45 billion in government support so far.)
Business-friendly financial news organizations can obtain coveted interviews with corporate CEOs, but they can't make them tell the truth. That was about the only coherent thing CNBC's Jim Cramer said in his own defense on the Daily Show Thursday night.
The tabloid media will never have as much access as, say, CNBC or Fortune, but by presuming the human worst instead of the heroic best of corporate leaders, they'll tend to present information that's closer to the hard, dollars-and-cents truth.
Along with pictures of Ben Bernanke sunbathing, naked. Talk about "stimulus!"