Friday, November 24, 2006

Corporate Compensation and Ethics Turn NY Papers Into Hatfield-McCoy

Posted by Alan Childress

The corporate governance and ethics issues raised by executive compensation and backdated options have generated hot press and much blogging the last several months, including Jeff's posts here and here--the latter of which somehow shoehorned an analogy to Paris Hilton.  And now those Ribstein_3 issues have boiled over into a debate of journalistic standards in the mainstream press.  Over at Ideoblog, U. Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein (left) tracks here the emerging feud between the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins over recent reporting (and opinionizing) about such matters.  [The U. Ill. website also links here a recent radio broadcast in which Ribstein responds to government talk of a more flexible SOX to come, a development on which I most recently posted here.]

Ribstein obviously and openly is a partisan in this NY newspaper war, siding with--and perhaps instigating or at least foreshadowing--the criticisms Jenkins has expressed about the Times' reporting lately, accusing it in essence of blind acceptance of corporate drivel.  The Times in turn accuses Jenkins of some unspecified vendetta against one of its reporters.  The feud may not shed light on the tendentious issues of corporate compensation and excess, but it raises real questions about journalistic objectivity and the blur between news reporting and columns.

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