3 mins read

Mandatory Disclosure: Doesn’t Apply To The New York Times

If you are a blogger, I know you are going “WHAT??!!??”  I know I was when I got my hands on this story.  I personally don't care for the New York Times.  I'm sick and tired of them making mommy bloggers look like money grubbing idiots.  I have to admit that it is nice when the tables get turned on them.  I know you have to be asking “what happened”.

Here's the deal.  Uwe Reinhardt is a Princeton economic professor.  He writes about health care for the New York Times' Economix blog.  That part is all fine and dandy until you find out that he earns more than $500,000 a year working for a number of health care companies. He also holds more than $5 million worth of related stock.  The best part?  This actually breaks the New York Times rules, which ban anyone who writes for the paper from having any financial interest “in a company, enterprise or industry that figures or is likely to figure in coverage that he or she provides, edits, packages or supervises regularly.” Heck, you'd think in his bio that they would have at least mentioned some of this.  Nope.  What's The New York Times reply to this all?

“Professor Reinhardt is a leading expert on the economics of health care, and has provided valuable and independent insights in his blog posts. He has mentioned his service on corporate boards in the blog, but we are reviewing how to more fully describe his activities for readers of Economix.”

The same New York Times that says the rest of us bloggers don't disclose our relationships. Pot meet kettle.

Here's the breakdown of what he owns, according to NYTPicker:

  • Reinhardt either earns an income or stock options from the five different private health care companies for which he sits on the board of directors/serves as a trustee.
  • He has sat on the board of health care company, Amerigroup, since 2003.  This tenure has resulted in Reinhardt's accumulation of 144,558 shares in the company and $226,531 in cash-and-stock compensation.  These shares are currently valued around $4.8 million.
  • Reinhardt also holds 75,625 shares of Boston Scientific (worth more than $500,000 in value) and earned $213,132 from the company in 2009. He has sat on the board of this medical device manufacturing company since 2005.
  • Reinhardt serves as a trustee for H&Q Healthcare Investors and H&Q Life Science Investors.  His 2008 income from the companies included $43,000 in income and between $1 and $10,000 worth of securities.
  • He also made $2 (aff).3 (aff) million from the 2007, $5.1 billion sale of Triad Hospitals to Community Health Systems.

What are your thoughts on this?

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4 thoughts on “Mandatory Disclosure: Doesn’t Apply To The New York Times

  1. I don't care who blogs about what as long as they disclose – and I don't think a vague, or even a specific, mention scattered through out several blog posts qualifies as "disclosure." I think there needs to be a big honking footnote at the end of every post describing all the affiliations. The stock doesn't bother me that much – the board/trustee positions do. It's especially troubling considering that, under insider training laws, I believe those would force him at times to either parse what he's saying or deliberately give an incomplete picture.

    1. This whole situation still floors me, and I can't believe The New York Times knew it and still let it go on. You bring up a lot of really good points.

  2. I think this guy should disclose that he makes money off of these companies. If I have to put that I received an $1 item from a company then he should have to state somewhere that he has investments in companies he may recommend. As long as he does that I don't have a problem with it.

    Of course I wonder if anything is really going to be done about it, since we are talking about the New York Times and not these "horrible deciving bloggers" trying to put food on the table for their family. (yes I'm being sarcastic, don't yell at me)

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