The Business Press Maven is sometimes accused of being a dark spirit hovering over the world of business journalism. In my defense, I usually just rest. Especially after this week of Enron and Gotti, why should The Business Press Maven waste more public time on a baseless defense? But hear this: The Business Press Maven is in a state of uncharacteristic cheer and good will toward all ( eh, most) business journalists, thanks to coverage about a big recent merger, coverage that actually benefits investors. Before I hop away in joy, let's come out and say it: something went unusually right with the vast amount of AT&T ( T)- BellSouth ( BLS) merger coverage this week. Breathlessness was kept to a minimum and journalists did not fall in love with the disparate personalities that were involved, weaving tales about how they would be Yin and Yang -- instead of Mr. and Mrs. Rose. It's all a result of what I call "devil's advocacy journalism," God bless it. Now let's hop backwards for a second, in the hope that you will learn what sort of mergers lend themselves to good coverage and which tend to be covered in a way that, if followed to the (witless) letter, will have you trading down from Caddy to Chevy. Plain old "advocacy journalism" is, of course, the sort that tries to push a worthy cause. All fine and good except when the journalist defines a worthy cause as the latest in splashy, high profile mega-merger. Name one, you ask. How about two? I pointed out several weeks ago that coverage of the Disney ( DIS)- Pixar ( PIXR) merger lifted major story lines from AOL- Time Warner ( TWX), one of the low points of modern business journalism. Untold buckets of money were lost by any investor who gave said coverage an uncritical read.