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Old 05-26-2009, 11:17 AM   #81
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The NY Times public editor has now opined

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Covering your own crisis
In the fall of 2007, Andrews went to his editors with a book proposal. He wanted to tell how the subprime mortgage crisis happened — greedy lenders, regulators who looked the other way and people like himself who made foolish choices.
Though the timing was terrible for The Times — Andrews was the main Washington reporter on the story — he burned to illuminate a national crisis through his personal experience. And he had another strong reason: He needed money.
“I was desperate,” he said. He still is. Seven months behind on his mortgage, he may lose his home unless “Busted,” which comes out this week, is a hit.
When Craig Whitney, the standards editor, read Andrews’s proposal, he asked, “Can you really keep covering this issue if you’re personally involved?” Andrews said he did not think any policy decisions would affect him, but if they did, it would not be much different from a reporter covering taxes who stood to benefit from a middle-class tax cut.
After an article adapted from “Busted” was published in last week’s Sunday magazine, Bradley Laue, a lawyer in Greeley, Colo., asked how Andrews could continue covering economics. Laue said it would be “like me being disbarred and then reporting on the ethics of lawyers.”
Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief, disagreed. Andrews used poor judgment, he said, but it was legal and encouraged by the lending system.
Baquet said that Andrews’s own experience gave him a perspective shared by millions of Americans, an advantage. Kelly McBride, an ethicist at the Poynter Institute, agreed. With vigilance by editors, she said, “this guy could be the perfect person to cover this story.”
I do not think Andrews is the same as a disbarred lawyer, but I do not think he is the same as a reporter covering tax cuts, unless that reporter is way behind in paying his taxes.
Baquet said he saw no conflict in Andrews’s personal situation and his beat, but he knew that some people would perceive one, so he tried to minimize the reporter’s involvement in “covering things directly related to the housing collapse.” Andrews told me: “I shy away from articles about the pros and cons of this approach or that approach in aiding homeowners. I would have too much at stake.”
But Baquet acknowledged they have not been rigorous about it. Andrews shared a front-page byline when President Obama announced his plan to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure. He wrote about details of the plan, demands by senators that foreclosures be delayed, and an agreement to freeze interest rates on some subprime mortgages.
Andrews is an excellent reporter who explains complex issues clearly. There are plenty of them to cover without assigning him to those that could directly affect whether he keeps his own house. He is too close to that story.
He can’t be too cautious. On Thursday, he came under attack from a blogger for The Atlantic for not mentioning in his book that his wife had twice filed for bankruptcy — the second time while they were married, though Andrews said it involved an old loan from a family member. He said he had wanted to spare his wife any more embarrassment. The blogger said the omission undercut Andrews’s story, but I think it was clear that he and his wife could not manage their finances, bankruptcies or no. Still, he should have revealed the second one, if only to head off the criticism.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:22 PM   #82
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he burned to illuminate

Which should be the fate of his book...
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:01 PM   #83
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he burned to illuminate

Which should be the fate of his book...
I agree, I certainly would not buy or even check it out from a library. I may even go so far as to avoid the publisher, W.W. Norton & Co. What book/author will they take a pass on? It's outrageous IMO...
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:43 PM   #84
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I've become mildly obsessed with the Ed Andrews soap opera, having posted several times on other websites and read 500+ posts on the subject. I think I'm finally over it, but I did want to point the latest developments and some finally thoughts.

First of all I think this is a really good thing, there is such a firestorm and widespread condemnation of both Ed Andrews, his wife and also the NY Times. It is encouraging that people have become less accepting of the traditional media reporting on a subject.

To a large extent Ed Andrews is Rorschach test on your view of who is responsible for the current crisis. I was impressed to see a very large number of intelligent posts (equal to the the general discussion we see here). Summarizing hundreds of comments (mostly on Meghan's blog) people seem to break into the following a camp.

  • A tiny percentage were sympathic to Ed and Patty.
  • A dozen or so people (although very articulate and passionate) think this story further illustrates, how ridiculously, greedy and incompetent the banks were and the need for dramatically better and tougher regulation.
  • The majority of people, were completely unsympathetic to Mr Andrews, and pissed that a wealthy, educated, and influential guy would try to pass himself off as victim of the mortgage crisis and unhappy that NY Times employees him an economic reporter.
  • A sizable minority were equally upset at the Media for doing such a bad job reporting on the initial story, and than largely dismissing Meghan's reporting as the work of a "mere" blogger.
Personally, I am very much in the latter camp. I find both NY Times public editors response and the Newshour's Paul Solman "I like the family and especially the kids' to be lame to the point of absurdity.

Finally, I found this review and opinion piece in todays WSJ to be quite a good summary.
Quote:
Mr. Andrews's book makes it clear that the real culprit is human nature. We as a nation -- people from all social classes and of all political persuasions -- went on a debt-fueled spree because we couldn't resist. We wanted to believe that there was easy money in real estate and that we could afford to live in our dream houses, and so tens of millions of us believed exactly that.
And before we collectively say I AM NOT LIKE THAT, I have to confess
that I too might have been tempted.

Quote:
Yes, many Americans refrained from taking on more debt than they could comfortably manage. But the costs of irresponsible lending and borrowing -- failed banks, shredded savings, ravaged neighborhoods -- are so great that they will be borne by all of us, the prudent and the reckless alike. Those who feel righteous might remind themselves that, in different circumstances, even they might have succumbed to temptation.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:24 AM   #85
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Here's an essay . . .
Just started reading this thread, and I'm a little late with this comment, but after reading the article it was pretty easy decision not to get the book.

Nowhere did I see even the most basic budgeting or income/outgo analysis. They just looked at the big ticket items and (I guess) thought the rest would be insignificant. The overdrawn checking account should have gotten their attention ... but wait... not to worry, they had overdraft protection. "$5 overdrawn because of school supplies for Patty’s daughter Emily — $100 from the MasterCard. Fifteen bucks over because of gasoline? Another $100 from the MasterCard. Groceries for $305? No problem! Uncle MasterCard would front us $400."

I sincerely wish them well and hope they sort it out and recover, then write an article and book about that.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:11 PM   #86
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The author was on Bloomberg radio today for an extensive interview. This really lowered my opinion of Bloomberg which I can only hear while traveling to South Jersey for work. I agree with the assessment that he sounds very weak on-air which was surprising for a "big time NYT Correspondant. He addressed the 2nd bankruptcy of his wife claiming it was directly due to loss of employment and overspending. Gotta give him credit for conducting a successful book tour, though.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:43 PM   #87
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So his new sexy, intelligent wife (his words) filed bankruptcy TWICE? Then, in the article, he says she complained that he was worried about their finances all the time and wouldn't stop spending?

Wow.What a great 2nd marriage he made.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:52 PM   #88
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What I find mystifying is how anyone thought there was any way this would work . . .

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Having separated from my wife of 21 years, who had physical custody of our sons, I was handing over $4,000 a month in alimony and child-support payments. That left me with take-home pay of $2,777 [per month] . . .

The rate on my primary mortgage of $333,700 was a remarkably low 5.625 percent for the first five years, though my monthly payments would probably jump substantially after the fifth year. On top of that, I was paying a much higher rate of 8.5 percent on my “piggyback” loan for $80,300. Even so, I would be paying slightly more than $2,500 a month for the first five years.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:44 PM   #89
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Thought I would check on Amazon to see how his book is selling and would have to say I don't think the reviews he is getting will be helping his cause. Most take issue with his decision to exclude the bankruptcies. Seems those in support are in a couple of cases known to the author. I think this poor sap might just be one of the most hated figures in the US at the moment.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:16 PM   #90
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Currently the hardcover version of Bust is #3520 and the Kindle version 3910.


Compared to other business books. A book on the Bear Stearns collapse is 318. Snowball a biography of Warren Buffet is 625, and Fools Gold about JP Morgan is 110, and book about JP Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon is 3800.

Anybody have clue for what the means in terms of sales?
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:34 PM   #91
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I am mystified as to how this financial miscreant could expand his story into a "book".

No review I have read states that he gives either a financial analysis of his situation, nor does he have a redemptive resolution to this.

It's basically an expanded one-time article full of omissions and half-truths. How did this lightweight fluff become a book?
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:12 PM   #92
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Top 13 tags on his book at amazon:

liar (19)
bankruptcy fraud (16)
shameless (15)
cheat (14)
stupidity (13)
thief (11)
felony fraudster (9)
idiocracy (7)
fail (6)
slanted (6)
cheater (5)
fraud (2)
yuppie narcissist (2)

Nice.
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:51 PM   #93
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Fuego that is awesomely hilarious. Especially yuppie narcissist. LOL
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:54 PM   #94
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Yeah, but how long did he and his wife lead the good life? And what are the long term repercussions?

This working stuff is for the birds. I may give his way a shot.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:16 PM   #95
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I hate how this guy is giving yuppie narcissists and felony fraudsters a bad name.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:57 PM   #96
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Fuego that is awesomely hilarious. Especially yuppie narcissist. LOL
Isn't that redundant?
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:37 PM   #97
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He might have been a yuppie 15 years ago... a bit long in the tooth for that now I'd say.

I thought the AMZN reviews were hilarious. Hope his book goes the way of his mortgage.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:38 PM   #98
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Yeah, but how long did he and his wife lead the good life? And what are the long term repercussions?

This working stuff is for the birds. I may give his way a shot.

They bought the house in 2004........so things went downhill really quickly. Long term repercussions? Probably therapy for the children.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:45 PM   #99
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Is there any published flak from the NYTimes editors on Ed Andrews? Did they publish a correction, such as:

"In the story published last week by Ed Andrews, it was not mentioned that his wife had two prior bankruptcies even though she was a hot woman. She even convinced us to spend so much money that the NY Times will declare bankruptcy next week and cease publication. We regret the error."
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:49 PM   #100
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Is there any published flak from the NYTimes editors on Ed Andrews? Did they publish a correction...
Not exactly. See post #81 above.
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