Yesterday, lots of people read the Greg Smith Op-Ed in the New York Times as it got passed around like a Honey Badger video. Smith took apart the business practices at Goldman Sachs, basically painting the investment bank as a the sort of evil, clients-last and profit-first corporation that everyone loves to hate. The only thing he didn’t mention was whether they rub their hands together and laugh maniacally in the derivatives sales meetings.
Today, Scott Mayerowitz, an opinion journalist for the Associated Press, issued a withering takedown of Smith’s piece. Employing the use of third party experts and amusing vignettes about other dramatic departures from employment, he trivialized Smith’s assessment of Goldman Sachs to the point of near absurdity. Smith, who stood tall like a hero less than 24 hours ago, was by the end of Mayerowitz’s piece diminished in stature to a self-aggrandizing and petty man who was slandering his long-term employer to make some money from a book and get a few minutes of fame.
Far be it from me to suggest that any journalist is on the payroll of a Goldman Sachs PR firm, but this piece is a perfect piece of crisis communications. You couldn’t ask for more from a PR flack trying to stave off that Greg Smith-induced $2 Billion drop in market value.
If this piece wasn’t bankrolled, then it’s probably just Scott Mayerowitz being smart enough to hitch his wagon to the hottest viral news story of the day. It’s a great way to sell copy and get eyeballs on your work. (In fairness, he’s not exactly alone in doing so.)
Whatever the case, Goldman Sachs owes Mayerowitz a debt of gratitude. And I hear they have the means to pay.