NYT-Bartiromo: The Comedy of Errors Continues

The NYT has corrected

its Bartiromo

story from yesterday – the one which invented not

only a new Citigroup executive called William Rose, but

also an "international investment firm" with $60 billion called

"Cutter Associates". But they still don’t have it right.

Here’s the way the story now ends:

Having weathered the Citigroup storm, Ms. Bartiromo said, she is free to

pursue the thing she most loves to do: talk to business people about what

is about to move the market.

“I love this thing now called sovereign funds,” she said, meaning

the large pools of capital amassed by governments in Asia and the Middle East,

and managed by groups like Qatar Associates, an international investment firm.

“I had the head of Qatar on and he said: ‘Look, we have $60 billion

we want to put to work.’ I find that kind of stuff so exciting. I find

it so sexy.”

It’s true that there isn’t a firm called Cutter Associates, but there also

isn’t a firm, a group, or anything else called Qatar Associates. There’s a sovereign

wealth fund called the Qatar Investment Authority which is, well, sovereign:

describing it as "an international investment firm" rather misses

the point.

And for all Bartiromo’s preternatural bubbliness, I don’t think she’d say something

like "I love this thing now called sovereign funds," either: she’s

more serious, and more well-informed, than that.

This is more than a storm in a media teacup: it speaks to the shallowness of

the NYT’s bench when it comes to business coverage. Some of the reporters have

no idea what they’re talking about, and the editors don’t seem to be up to speed

enough on business issues to catch mistakes. On any serious financial publication,

substantially everyone should know what a sovereign wealth fund is. As the IMF’s


Johnson notes, these funds now run some $2-3 trillion, and could reach $10

trillion by 2012. Those are enormous sums of money.

The market in business news has moved online, and is both increasingly competitive

and increasingly lucrative: ads on business news websites are some of the most

expensive on the web. The NYT’s strong online franchise gives it a headstart

in this market, but once the FT and the WSJ go free, it’s going to need more

than that.

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