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Columbia Journalism Review

From the Columbia Journalism Review:

Director’s Cut: Last Thursday, Judith Miller penned a column for The Wall Street Journal in which she accused the new film Fair Game of pushing “untruths” in its telling of the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.  CJR approached Fair Game director Doug Liman (Swingers, Mr and Mrs Smith, The Bourne Identity) for comment. He wrote back with this response to Miller’s piece. It starts this way: “Judith Miller demonstrated in her recent WSJ story about my film, Fair Game, the same cavalier attitude towards the facts that led to her departure from The New York Times in….”

Cancun Confidential: Joydeep Gupta wants to know where the money is. He is reporting for the Indo-Asian News Service, Gupta is in Cancún on the sixteenth annual Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 16. At last year’s conference in Copenhagen, developed countries promised to spend $30 billion over the course of three years in developing countries where the impacts of climate change are already occurring. Gupta is trying to track that money down, and is profiled for CJR by Laura Paskus, from Cancun.

In the Air: In the latest of CJR’s Launch Pad series, in which founders of news startups discuss the challenges of their particular launch, Michael Andersen, founder of Portland Afoot, and Barry Johnson, who is at work on an arts journalism project, wrap up their series of conversations with a discussion about community building.

Digital Deja Vu: Google has a near-monopoly on search in the U.S. It uses that dominant position to boost its other businesses at the expense of competitors. As The Audit’s Deputy Chief, Ryan Chittum, notes: We’ve got a problem here. The Wall Street Journal took a look, pointing out how the search giant is able to dominate—or at least gain a significant position in—other aspects of the Web by using search results to point to its own services. But the obvious analogy, which the Journal doesn’t make, is to the emblematic tech company of the 1990s: Microsoft.

NYT v. the Derivatives Cartel: Back in September, the Chicago Fed hosted a symposium on OTC derivatives clearing (bear with us; don’t fall asleep just yet). The luncheon keynote was given by Ken Griffin, and summarized by the professor/blogger Craig Pirrong, who was there. CJR’s Peterson Fellow, Felix Salmon, notes that recently, the New York Times‘s Louise Story took Griffin’s complaint and elevated it to the status of the main front-page story of the Sunday paper. It’s a long and powerful piece, Felix says, but also quite one-sided.

A Stunning Poll: Chittum says Bloomberg News got some stunning numbers polling Americans on whether big bonuses should be banned at Wall Street?s bailout recipients, which essentially means all of the Wall Street banks. Wait until you see them.

A Rehash from BusinessWeek: Felix says he was eager to read the new Bloomberg Businessweek profile of Larry Fink to learn something new, especially about the famously tense relationship between Fink and Goldman Sachs. But weirdly, the authors seem to go out of their way not to delve. Says Felix: If you only read one profile of Fink, the best one remains last April’s piece by Suzanna Andrews in Vanity Fair.

Herald-Trib BlockBuster: Down in Florida, State Farm noisily said it was exiting its coastal hurricane-insurance business, asserting that it couldn’t afford it anymore. But, Chittum points out in Audit Notes, thanks to an investigation by Paige St. John and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, we now know that State Farm is still actually in the hurricane-insurance business in Florida and its machinations are making it lots of money:

Short-Arming a Goldman Story: Chittum notes that when Senator Carl Levin released e-mails yesterday showing a Goldman Sachs executive exhorting his traders to engineer a short-squeeze, The Wall Street Journal buried it on C3 and gave it a  loopy headline: “Goldman Trader Used Rough Language.” Heavens! The Financial Times was quite a bit better.

NYT Shines on Mortgages: Felix says the paper’s David Bornstein had a great post about ESOP, an Ohio non-profit which acts as a middleman between homeowners and lenders, and which does a much better job of getting modifications done than banks and borrowers are if left to their own devices.

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