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Columbia Journalism Review

From the Columbia Journalism Review:

Skeptical To a Fault: CJR’s Peterson Fellow, Felix Salmon, says Sharon Terlep’s story in the WSJ on GM trying to pay down its debt is a great indicator of how the leverage-is-good meme simply refuses to die, even after the financial crisis. The main reason for GM to carry debt is the tax advantages it gets, but the carmaker already has all the tax advantages it will be able to use for the foreseeable future, thanks to all the losses it made in previous years. Meanwhile, as GM vividly remembers, carrying a large debt load can be devastating in a cyclical downturn. But Terlep just can’t seem to believe it’s as simple as that.

Googlopoly?: Audit Deputy Chief Ryan Chittum lauds The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein for an excellent column taking up the Google monopoly case.  If you want to know why there’s a problem with what Google’s doing, this is about the best place to start.

Flyover News: Iowa’s credible attorney general, Tom Miller, recently said he will bring criminal charges over the foreclosure scandal. But, as Chittum points out, most of the press didn’t have that significant news. Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism picked up on this story, as did The Huffington Post and HousingWire. But the only mainstream media coverage it got was in the Des Moines Register and Reuters.

More, Please: In Audit Notes, Chittum says The New York Times reported that The Atlantic magazine, a longtime money loser, is in the black. The Times credits the mag’s focus on the Web, but in fact most of the magazine’s revenue gains game from elsewhere. We’d like to know more.

Meme Watch (cont’d.): Chittum says the Journal went page one this week with a story on our mangled tax code, which is oviously inefficient and causes uncertainty for businesses and individuals. But it seems to him that the Journal overplays the case somewhat that such “uncertainty” is what’s keeping businesses from hiring. And, in doing so, the paper channels the business lobby’s political agenda.

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