I met a reporter who had been overseas for six years, opening an important foreign office for the Wall Street Journal. He was stunned when he came back in 1999 to see how much reporting had changed in his absence. He said it was impossible to get to the bottom of most stories in a normal news cycle because companies had become very sophisticated in controlling their message and access.
I couldn’t tell immediately, but one of my friends remarked in 2000 that the reporting was increasingly reminiscent of what she had grown up with in communist Poland.
Back to the main theme: the media dares not say anything too negative about financial services firms or their government operatives lest they lose access.
The private sector has learned the lesson of the Bush Administration, that the threat of freezing a reporter out is a powerful weapon.