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:

 

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