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CEO Porn Loses Allure After Buffett Revelation

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Warren Buffett held his annual "Woodstock for capitalists" this weekend in Omaha, Neb. The imagery is apt. The annual meeting should really be held in Bethel, N.Y., and his investors should hitchhike up the New York Thruway and then strip naked in the mud. It is that kind of event, if not worse. Just as Woodstock was an homage to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, the annual pilgrimage to the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report) annual meeting is an homage to making money, more money and still more money.

The annual "we love Warren" extravaganza long ago acquired many of the aspects of a cult ritual, and we in the media were right there with the shareholders, sipping the Kool-Aid. But this year's Buffett-fest was different. For the first time, the adulatory press coverage soured a bit. The media isn't negative by any means, but this time -- and it was long overdue -- the tenor of the coverage was skeptical. For example, good takedowns of the annual Buffett love-fest were written by Joe Nocera of the New York Times and Allan Dodds Frank of the Daily Beast, and there was solid work throughout the Omaha press corps. Good work, guys. Keep it up.

I mean it. Let's keep this non-honeymoon going on forever. As a matter of fact, the adulation directed at Buffett, who repaid it with a tawdry insider trading scandal, is a lesson to us all. Sure, CEO porn is alluring. Sure, rich people are inherently fascinating, virtuous and fantastic individuals. Sure, billionaire investors can do no wrong. The media acted that way before the financial crisis of 2008 and still does. I don't expect that to change everywhere, but I do think that Buffett is a good place to start.

The reason the Buffett Kiss-Up is such a seminal event in the investment calendar is that the media made it so. We hang on his every word, treat Buffett and his sidekick Charlie Munger like demigods, ignoring their flaws, to an extent that is sometimes a little creepy. Thank heavens Buffett has stumbled. Perhaps henceforth he will be treated just the way he deserves to be treated: as a money manager who is capable of making mistakes, sometimes big ones.

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