Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Saturday, November 28, 2009 1:39 pm

RIP: Mark Pittman


Once in a while, journalists come across stories they really, really hope to be wrong about but, unfortunately, aren’t.

Mark Pittman of Bloomberg may have dug up the mother of all such stories:

A former police-beat reporter who joined Bloomberg News in 1997, Pittman wrote stories in 2007 predicting the collapse of the banking system. That year, he won the Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the highest accolade in financial journalism, for “Wall Street’s Faustian Bargain,” a series of articles on the breakdown of the U.S. mortgage industry.

“He was one of the great financial journalists of our time,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. “His death is shocking.”

Pittman’s fight to make the Fed more accountable resulted in an Aug. 24 victory in Manhattan Federal Court affirming the public’s right to know about the central bank’s more than $2 trillion in loans to financial firms. He drew the attention of filmmakers Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, who gave him a prominent role in their documentary about subprime mortgages, “American Casino,” which was shown at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival in May. …

“Who sues the Fed? One reporter on the planet,” said Emma Moody, a Wall Street Journal editor who worked with Pittman at Bloomberg. “The more complex the issue, the more he wanted to dig into it. Years ago, he forced us to learn what a credit-default swap was. He dragged us kicking and screaming.”

The American financial media in general, obsessed as they are with power and personalities, didn’t see this storm coming until it was too late. Mark Pittman did, and hundreds of billions of evaporated wealth might still be here if his colleagues had followed his lead sooner.

Pittman, 52, leaves a wife, three daughters, his parents and two brothers.

UPDATE:

 

4 Comments

  1. What is urgent now is for someone to continue his work. His notes, hard disk data, and all of his prior publications need to be preserved.

    This has to be followed as the fact that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have no apparent interest, spells another cover up.

    Every trade which the FED did, directly or indirectly, must be scrutinized for buying or selling over market and thus gifting federal funds.

    With trillion at stake, we need for people of integrity to step up.

    Comment by Joe Canepa — Thursday, December 10, 2009 12:28 am @ 12:28 am

  2. I agree, Joe. What gives me hope is that Bloomberg has invested a bunch of time and money in pursuing its lawsuit. I hope they’ll continue to do so and that McClatchy’s DC bureau, which has done some fine work of its own, also will keep after this.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, December 10, 2009 6:14 am @ 6:14 am

  3. Lex, glad you agree

    Consider:

    Let look at what could have happened without any FED transparency.

    Mega Bank buys AAA paper on the ABX for 460

    Mega Bank sells AAA paper to the FED for 860

    Megabank transfers 10% of the 400 point profit to parties unknown who hold off shore secret accounts.

    Mega bank reports high trading profits, boosting its stock

    Parties unknown laugh until they cry.

    Comment by Joe Canepa — Thursday, December 10, 2009 10:38 am @ 10:38 am

  4. You don’t have to sell me on the idea, Joe. I’ve been beating the audit-the-Fed drum here for a while. :-)

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, December 10, 2009 2:00 pm @ 2:00 pm


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