How Not to Skewer the Financial Press

There's nothing like a few words of cynicism to get a Grokker pumped up.

So we smiled upon discovering an article in the Chicago Tribune last month that roasted the financial press for its less-than-accurate stock predictions. But if you're going to cop an attitude, you have to be dead-on accurate yourself.

And follow-up coverage at indicates that the Trib piece contained factual errors.

According to a response from SmartMoney posted at Media, Trib reporter Bill Barnhart didn't call the magazine for comment on his report that its stock picks had dropped 13 percent. Smart Money said its stock picks didn't lose ground, but gained almost 17 percent. Had Barnhart called, it's likely he would have also discovered his failure to account for pharmaceutical biggie Pfizer's stock split last year - a failure that resulted in the erroneous statement that Pfizer had lost 71 percent (its stock was down by about 12 percent).

Green magazine editor Ken Kurson took the Trib to task for the column. Kurson overdid his defense of financial mags, but he homed in on the Trib's glaring factual error and the modest amount of checking that could have averted it.

"It's particularly egregious to have so little awareness of the kind of year a giant like Pfizer has had, especially in an era where a quick split-adjusted chart is 10 seconds of effort away."

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