Andrew Ross Sorkin, the whiz kid-ish New York Times Dealbook reporter, sometimes gets unfairly characterized as a bootlicking Wall Street suckup who wants only to ingratiate himself with the powerful. Other times—like today—that characterization is completely fair.
I mean, this shit right here is scarcely believable: "Hiring the Well-Connected Isn’t Always a Scandal," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Backslapping Apologist For Every Shitty Undemocratic Practice of the Wealthy Plutocracy. This is literally a column in which Andrew Ross Sorkin, the rich son of a powerful corporate lawyer and the best media pal to the Masters of the Universe, dismisses out of hand any concern that weirdo nitpickers might have about the fact that the children of society's most rich and powerful people routinely land the most well-paid and desirable jobs. What sort of hippie freak would care about a thing like that, right?
The news peg for this column is the fact that JP Morgan Chase is currently being investigated for hiring the children of highly placed Chinese officials. To do so in an attempt to win business would, of course, be against the rules. The normal reaction of a business reporter to such news might be: "Let me look into this story to see if I can find any wrongdoing by the bank." Andrew Ross Sorkin's reaction was: "Let me write a lengthy column larded with chummy anecdotes which justifies this plainly fishy practice!" After all, who would suspect a Wall Street bank of doing something dishonest or duplicitous? Not Andrew Ross Sorkin.
But by and large, financial firms in particular commonly hire people who have certain connections, whether through family or a business relationship. The thinking is that the new hire — and his or her last name — might “help open doors,” Mr. Driscoll said. But, like many people I interviewed on this topic, he did not see a legal issue with such hires. “I don’t think there is a quid pro quo,” such that the hiring of children is explicitly generating business from the parent.
Yes— Andrew Ross Sorkin was able to tap his extensive Rolodex in order to unearth not one, but many members of the wealthy elite who said that the practice of the wealthy elite hiring the children of the wealthy elite is no big deal. That's the sort of high level journalistic access that only the New York Times (*cough*) can provide.
Even when Sorkin lists several executives of massive corporations whose sons landed lucrative jobs with Wall Street firms, he does not suppose there is anything wrong with that. Not at all!
Does this make the sons of Mr. Kindler or Mr. Sorrell unqualified? Not at all. They are all quite bright and well educated. One of Mr. Sorrell’s sons went on to become a partner at Goldman Sachs. Do these hires constitute bribes? Hardly.
Hardly. How does Andrew Ross Sorkin know that? Because he just knows these Wall Street guys, and please allow him to tell you— these guys are good guys. Fun to hang out with. Smart kids of CEOs are smart and get hired, what's the big deal, unless you are one of the 99.99% of Americans who are not a member of this tiny wealthy well-connected elite and might wish to get a good job also? Assuming you are one of the highly placed, well-educated, wealthy elites that Andrew Ross Sorkin sees as his audience, this common practice of handing out highly desirable jobs to people like you is absolutely nothing to worry about.
The same goes for the prime example of this issue in the United States: Chelsea Clinton. Ms. Clinton worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company after college and later at Avenue Capital, a hedge fund founded by a big Clinton fund-raiser, Marc Lasry. But Ms. Clinton, a Stanford graduate who is considered intelligent by virtually everyone who has spent time with her, had as genuine a claim on those jobs as anyone else graduating the year she did.
A New York Times reporter unable to grasp the fact that there might be something wrong with the daughter of a U.S. president being awarded a succession of highly paid corporate jobs— that there might be, at minimum, something unfair about it— is distressing. It's like a baseball player unable to grasp why it's harder to hit C.C. Sabathia's pitches than a Little Leaguer's. You have to wonder about his fitness for his position.
But this is certainly this column's crowning achievement:
And then there is Robert Rubin’s son Jamie, who worked at the Federal Communications Commission and at Allen & Company, the boutique bank, while his father was part of the Clinton administration. I’ve known Jamie for years and he, too, probably would have landed prominent posts even without his name.
"My Friend Is Great," a column by Andrew Ross Sorkin. How comforting to know that the paper of record's top Wall Street reporter is close friends with the son of one of the most powerful financial figures of the past 30 years. Because as they always say, the job of a journalist is to Comfort the Comfortable.
Or something like that.
[Dealbook. Photo: Getty]