If Adam, Eve, Job, Ruth, Esther -- or any other subject or chronicler of the Old Testament -- were around today, they'd tell you that it's no easy chore covering God. You sort of just sit there and let Him speak.
Apparently, covering Warren Buffett is no easier, judging by the reports from
annual meeting in Omaha over the weekend. Buffett was there, of course, along with 35,000 people -- a record crowd even for Warren. A host of media folk -- like good disciples -- scribbled down every syllable his Lordship said. Some even dared to ask a question or two, but overall, the rules of the Old Testament remained in place: You don't talk back to the almighty one.
This was no time to genuflect, however. Buffett, and Berkshire Hathaway, had an awful year in 2008. The company's Class A shares lost 32% of their value, and while Berkshire Hathaway reported $4.99 billion in profit, that tidy sum was a 62% drop from the year before. Even in Buffett's
annual letter to shareholders,
he said himself, "during 2008, I did some dumb things in investments."
Nonetheless, like their Old Testament brethren, our modern-day reporters appeared to be in awe of just standing in the presence of greatness, no matter how much it has diminished in the past year. Take my friend and former colleague Andrew Ross Sorkin, writer deluxe for The New York Times. Sorkin was one of several journalists who travelled to Omaha to write a blog, in his case for "DealBook," a nifty business roundup that is prominently featured in the Times.