Barry Ritholtz’s book: Where are the bloggers?

By Felix Salmon
May 19, 2009

Barry Ritholtz’s book just landed on my desk, and I’m looking forward to reading it, since I think that bloggers in general, and Barry in particular, have been very much ahead of the curve in terms of identifying and comprehending the contours of this crisis.

As befits a book from such an assiduous source-citer as Ritholtz, Bailout Nation comes with 17 pages of endnotes, most of them with URLs. But here’s the funny thing: the number of blogs cited is tiny. Paging through the notes, I see Barry citing himself a couple of times, there’s one reference to TPM Muckraker, and that’s about it. A blog entry by John Carney does make it into the book, but is cited at its Yahoo Finance address, complete with annoyingly auto-playing video. Occasionally bloggers appear — me, Arianna Huffington, Paul Krugman — but never for our blog entries, only for more formal things we’ve written (in my case, my NYT op-ed). And we’re all more or less part of the mainstream media anyway. “Pure” bloggers are I think entirely absent from the book. Meanwhile, columnists in more mainstream outlets get cited quite frequently.

I suspect that what’s going on here is akin to the “cultural cringe” that was first diagnosed in Australia in the 1950s: an internalized inferiority complex whereby bloggers tend to consider blogs to be lesser than newspaper and magazine articles and columns. And if A-list econobloggers like Barry think that way, just imagine what the rest of the financial world thinks.

Update: Barry responds.


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Some of the graphs are from Calculated Risk.

I think it’s more like writers feel that bloggers, and even people who comment on blogs, don’t need to be quoted or acknowledged. I’ve seen arguments and comments and facts on blogs and websites go unattributed, even though I’m fairly sure where they came from. However, I’m not going to spend any time investigating this.

After all,and this is just a hypothetical in my case, if you quote Don the libertarian Democrat as your source, it doesn’t convey a lot of gravitas and knowledge, even if I turned out to be the world’s foremost expert on Godel’s Proof, which I’m not.

It’s kind of like this Fed Ex add: pc

I’m not saying Ritholtz does this, but I do believe that it occurs, along with your explanation.

By the way, I’d take down that ‘Quantitatively Easing’. It makes me think that you’re referring to your bowel movements.

Hey Felix,

I wanted to keep the sources to either original source material (Federal Reserve, Treasury, etc.) or 1st hand observations.

I used Wall Street research, and internal bank memos, and investigative journalists who had discovered new information (American Banker, Bloomberg, WSJ, NYT, NY Sun, Oregonian and Portfolio) as well as authors who had researched and written entire books on relevant subjects. Even the quote of yours I used came via the NYT OpEd.

The rest of the prose was supposed to be original and in my voice, and quoting other bloggers would have defeated that goal.

The bloggers I referenced had produced original material, rather than comments on other people’s original material. These included Calculated Risk, WallStats, Stereo Hell and The Chart Store were for their original art/charts.

I was about to speculate that blog citations were the victims of the author’s spat with McGraw-Hill. But the author pre-emptively disabused me of this notion above.

The interesting thing about this, Felix, and Barry’s response, is that it points up a limitation in the way mainstream books are sourced, written, and edited nowadays. It will be interesting to see whether that changes over time.

Also, while I am thinking about it, while I understand and admire Barry’s decision to write his own material in his own voice, I find it curious that his opinions seem not to have been influenced at all by others’ otherwise unoriginal commentary. Scholarly works have an established way of crediting influences that do not rise to the level of direct quote or attribution. It’s called a bibliography.

Perhaps it is time for authors with less original minds than Barry to start including a bloggiography in their works?

Barry is a snob. He likes to throw his name and ask for quotes, but is very short on using anything other than MSM ( Which he criticizes frequently)

He has stood me up on more than one occasion, promised me lots, never delivered and asked me to write for the book, which I declined as I knew it would end up on the cutting floor.

He is looking for cred, but forgets how he got his to this point. Just read his blog of late, all about Barry, and his sightings….


Posted by A Blogger | Report as abusive

WilliamBanzai7′s Book of Wall Street Fat Cats (coming soon)

(The Naming of Cats, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, TS Elliot)
WilliamBanzai7′s Book of Wall Street Fat Cats

The Naming of Wall Street fat cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one for bank holiday chatter;
You may think at first I’m as mad as Cramer the CNBC hatter
When I tell you, a fat cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the trader’s use daily,
Such as Jimmy, Dickie, Kenny or Jamie,
Such as Henry or Lloydie, or Johnny or Bernie -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen gangsters, some for the dames:
Such as Maestro, Gorilla, Bandit and Ace -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a fat cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more infamous,
Else how can he keep his pinstriped network reticular,
Or save his whiskers, and cover his backside?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Bootstrap, Lucky-me, or Will Con-you,
Such as Ponzo, or Boeski and Screwless Ken Lewis -
Names that never belong to more than one fat cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no financial sleuth can discover -
But THE WALL STREET FAT CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a fat cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of the name of:
His ineffable effable
Latest, deepest and inscrutable CON GAME.

Yay Go Barry!!!!! …<<< Cheerleading from the mindless anti-MSM bear groupies.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

I agree with one of the comments made earlier that barry is kind of obsessed with himself. His blog’s feeds were mu must reads but overtime I have come to the conclusion that you can know what his opinion is going to be on any event irrespective of the facts something like fox news.

Posted by Apollo | Report as abusive

Great observations – Ritholtz is all about self-promotion. The MSM loves and links to him and he sees bloggers as competition. It’s that simple.

Stood you up? I was there! Where were you?

Geez, thats the last time I make a date with an anonymous blog troll . . .

Good blog, do you always post new blog here?