There's no end to the hurrahs some folks are willing to give Warren Buffet’s record-breaking donation to Bill Gates charity. It was a lot of money! He gave it away! It must be good!
The corollary of this seems to be that scorn and bile must issue forth upon anyone who questions the conventional wisdom. Check out this graph from CJR Daily’s The Audit on a mildly critical story in the Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" column.
Is it because the Journal's sources actually stand to profit from the very fluctuations they claim to fear (and profit even more if they can whip up some market hysteria with an article in a prominent business newspaper)? We can only speculate, but there is no doubt that there is a deeply cynical strain of business reporting that has come to reduce everything to numbers, seemingly blind to the reality that business affects people -- real lives that are either trampled or uplifted depending on the decisions of market players like Buffett.
Is it unfair of us to point out that what has outraged The Audit is a story indicating some possible negative effects of Buffett’s gifts? Effects on people who lead real lives, even if some of them are lived in Greenwich, Connecticut. What’s more, since Buffett’s giving hasn’t yet actually helped one person—not counting Buffett or Gates—it’s the Audit which is reducing everything to numbers, the very large numbers involved with Buffett’s charitable donations. If what matters results and effects on people’s lives, maybe we should wait until seeing how many “real lives…are either trampled or uplifted” by Buffett’s gifts before crowning Buffett with a halo or burning the heretics at the stake.
The Journal Reports That Good Deeds Are Bad [The Audit]